Bishop selects Britnee Tapara for Youth MP role

Hutt Valley news
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

“I have never let my vision defeat me. I like to think of it as playing the game of life on hard mode”.

So says Chilton St James’ 16-year-old Britnee Tapara in her biography submitted to Chris Bishop as part of the process to decide who would represent him in the Youth Parliament to be held in July 2016.

Tapara, who is legally blind, has a passion for programming and technology. She says that when she got her first laptop she made sure she could do anything she ever dreamed of in the comfort of her visual boundaries.

“I admit sometimes a lifelong disability is a hard pill to swallow at my age, but the lessons I have learned in my mere 16 years are many. The truth is, if given the option, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

"I wouldn’t be the young woman I am today without my experiences. I wouldn’t have seen the problems that need to be addressed. I wish to share the views of the youths in my community to help our government learn what needs to be done".

A keen equestrian rider, gaming enthusiast, singer and vision-impaired Artist, Mr Bishop says he is impressed by her passionate advocacy for youth issues. 

“Britnee is an exceptional young person. All of the applicants were very talented and would have made great Youth MPs, however Britnee’s determined advocacy for disabilities and mental health awareness made her a standout,” says Mr Bishop.

“I was touched by Britnee’s compelling advocacy for youth mental health. This is an area I feel very strongly about myself. I know Britnee will do a good job bringing her passion, insight and commitment to this area to Youth Parliament next year”.

Asked what message she had for other young people, Tapara said that young people needed to have confidence in themselves and to follow their dreams.

“Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your passions. Don’t listen to those who doubt your abilities, because the best art comes from those who dare to express themselves!”