Project Hope

Covid-19, the lockdown and its aftermath have dramatically changed the lives and future possibilities of New Zealanders. These times call for new ways of thinking about our current circumstances. To this end, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences has developed Project Hope, which addresses the question: ‘What does hope look like in a Covid world?’ This exciting initiative is being offered to high school students, and aims to inspire students and create a vision for our future in an ever-changing world.

As alumni, you know Massey has a strong history of addressing and adapting to the needs of New Zealand by providing responsive and relevant research and teaching that helps to solve real world problems. Our commitment to being relevant and responsive has not waivered and we are keen to invest in scholarship and research which will support students, staff and researchers and help to address the challenges we currently face. Project Hope focuses on hope-based practices that enable people to face frankly and to act progressively in relation to the challenges of these times.

Project Hope will help the University and country understand the New Zealand mind-set at this particular point in our history. Ultimately, it is hoped that the project will help Massey University to develop credentials that will respond to the needs of New Zealanders as we emerge from the Covid crisis.

Project Hope will have two phases. In Phase1, College staff will arrange full-day workshops with students from secondary schools in three regions: Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū and Taranaki. The focus of the day, which builds upon our successful Future Leaders’ Programme by bringing together students who demonstrate leadership potential, will be on developing students’ capacities to collaborate, think innovatively and to plan a practical project. Participants will work through a structured programme involving interactive exercises that develop ways of practicing hope through thinking, connecting to others and taking action. They will also design projects to be implemented in their schools or local communities.

In Phase 2, two students from each participating school will spend a day on the Manawatū campus working with staff from the College. The purpose of the intensive one-day workshop is to (a) report on progress with the implementation of each Hope project; and (b) to design a process for taking each project to a wider regional and/or national audience. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Youth Affairs will be invited to the day, as will representatives of relevant social sector organisations.

The over-arching objective of Project Hope is to harness the voices, energy and aspirations of our young people in ways which allow them to articulate and act on a hopeful vision of their future. The Project – once it has been scaled up – will provide young people with a focus for action as we emerge from one of the biggest global crises of the 21st century. The experience of participating will also help prepare young people for University-level study, enhancing their leadership skills and making them more agile, resilient and better prepared for learning and working in a post-Covid environment.

We hope you can help us by funding the students required for this research through this course which will prove invaluable to them, to Massey University and to the wider national community.


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