Cultural identity a powerful tool

  • Marie Hasler
Cultural Affairs

Young people who identify strongly with their own culture and feel good about themselves will be better placed to say no to drugs, says the Minister for Cultural Affairs Marie Hasler.

"We need to empower and encourage our young people so they are able to make the right choices when it comes to drugs," Ms Hasler said in support of tomorrow's national Warm Fuzzie Day.

"We can do this by giving them a strong cultural identity. A form of cultural expression where we speak with our own voices, where we see ourselves on television, where we tell our own stories, involve ourselves in our own history.

"Culture is about who and what we are, and gives us a sense of understanding about our selves. Culture also gives us self-confidence.

"Unfortunately, in today's busy world many young people feel isolated and alone, and turn to drugs as a way of coping.

"A nation's stories and other forms of culture teach us about life. A strong cultural identity is a powerful tool which can give our young people the means to steer clear of drugs and alcohol."

Ms Hasler commends the work of PRYDE (Parents Resource Institute for Youth Drug Education) and urges all New Zealanders to get behind national Warm Fuzzie Day.