TUPUA URLICH

Founder of VOYCE Whakarongo Mai - New Zealand’s first advocacy service for children in the care of Oranga Tamariki


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Tupua was one of the thousands of Māori children in state care. At the age of 17, he found himself outside the perimeters of state support and alone in a hospital room after a suicide attempt. From his darkest days came his drive to make a change. He was one of the voices the Vulnerable Children’s Board listened to during the independent review of Child, Youth and Family. He is also the Founder of VOYCE Whakarongo Mai - New Zealand’s first advocacy service for children in the care of Oranga Tamariki.

Tupua set up VOYCE Whakarongo Mai to help give children in care a voice and a place to connect. He believes that isolation should not be an issue in any country, especially one where over 5,000 young people are in the system. He wants to build a culture where young people belong to a system that empowers them. He acknowledges young people as being the future and he wants to help guide them forward so they don’t live through an experience like his.