Governing principles for youth council operations.

Selwyn Youth Council Terms of Reference


In 2013 the Selwyn District Council approved the establishment of a Selwyn District Youth Council. The role of the youth council was endorsed as being to identify and communicate to Council the interests and preferences of Selwyn young people in relation to:

  • Contributing to the content of strategies, policies and plans of the Council.
  • Any matter that the Youth Council considers to be of particular interest or concern to the young people of Selwyn.

These Terms of Reference are informed by the six principles of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa, Ministry of Youth Affairs (2002):

  • Youth development is shaped by the ‘big picture’.
  • Youth development is about young people being connected.
  • Youth development is based on a strengths-based approach.
  • Youth development happens through quality relationships.
  • Youth development is triggered when young people fully participate.
  • Youth development requires good information

The Selwyn Youth Council was established as a youth council, as opposed to a community committee or sub-committee of the council.


‘Selwyn is a district where all young people feel connected to their local community.”


Creating meaningful and relevant opportunities that support young people to participate, engage, overcome barriers and take up new challenges.


  • Assisting Selwyn District Council to create opportunities for local young people to actively engage and participate with the development and delivery of council strategies, policies and projects.
  • Creating opportunities for young people in Selwyn to share their views on what is important in their lives, and sharing this with Selwyn District Council (at both governance and operational level).
  • Enabling and building on the reach of Selwyn District Council initiatives and opportunities that help young people connect with their wider community.
  • Enabling and building on the reach of Selwyn District Council events, programmes and activities that are relevant and engaging to young people.


Be a good human: We treat everyone with respect and empathy. We have fun. We’re honest, upfront and trustworthy. We’re open to others’ views, backgrounds and cultures. We do the right thing.

Be brave, think differently: We are always looking for a better way. We challenge tradition and ask ‘why?’ We welcome others dreams and ideas. We’re not afraid to give it a go. We get on board with change.

Better together: We support and encourage our colleagues. We make everyone welcome. We share our skills and resources to get things done. We work as one big team. We acknowledge and celebrate the good stuff.

We make it happen for Selwyn: We do what we say we’ll do. We listen, understand and respond to our community. We’re passionate and proud of the work we do for Selwyn. We go the extra mile. We look for solutions.

Scope of consultation

Selwyn District Council has a responsibility to engage with young people under the Principles of Consultation contained in Section 82 of the Local Government Act 2002. In particular, subsection (a) provides that: “persons who will or may be affected by, or have an interest in, the decision or matter should be provided by the local authority with reasonable access to relevant information in a manner and format that is appropriate to the preferences and needs of those persons”.

Selwyn Youth Council is the primary mechanism for Selwyn District Council to receive youth-related advice at a strategic level. They are to act as a conduit between the young people of Selwyn and Selwyn District Council. They use their coordinated network to help Selwyn District Council to reach and obtain a diverse range of youth perspectives on decisions that affect young people.

The Selwyn Youth Council aims to seek out and understand the priorities, needs and key issues of young people in Selwyn, and share this with Selwyn District Council. They have a responsibility to cultivate a wider network of young people that captures the many diverse perspectives and experiences of young people in this age group. This includes young people at school, those home-schooled, those in training, in tertiary education, in employment and/or unemployed as well as young people from different ethnic backgrounds and abilities.

Scope of civic engagement

  • Selwyn Youth Council should also be actively involved in delivering civic activities. This includes:
  • Providing young people with access to information and knowledge about the concept of democracy and politics.
  • Providing young people with opportunities to build a sense of civic pride.
  • The Selwyn Youth members will be encouraged to attend civic events over the term such as Council meetings, citizenship ceremonies and building openings.

Commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi

  • Ensure rangatahi are actively involved in our decision-making process, creating opportunities for a wide range of views and voices to be heard.
  • Increasing understanding and awareness of the role and aspirations of tangata whenua, in liaison with Te Taumutu Rūnanga.
  • Building and maintaining a strong relationship with rangatahi from Te Taumutu Rūnanga.
  • Commitment to the articles and principles of the Te Tiriti and the principles and requirements in Parts 2 and 6 of the Local Government Act.
  • Ensuring culturally responsive service delivery and incorporation of Te Reo, guided by the Crown Language Revitalisation Strategy Maihi Karauna.

Membership Criteria

  • Membership criteria of the SYC includes:
  • Be between 12–24 years old in February of the given year
  • Live within the boundaries of the Selwyn district
  • Be available to participate in projects/ initiatives monthly
  • Be available to attend youth council meetings throughout the year
  • Have the ability to work with other people and as part of a team

It is expected that the Selwyn Youth Council will provide a broad representation of the Selwyn district youth population with consideration to a diverse membership inclusive of:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Skills
  • Geography


Representatives from wards – minimum of eleven (11) and maximum of thirteen (13)

The SYC membership will represent the four Selwyn District wards as follows:

  • Selwyn Central Ward – at least four (4) SYC members
  • Springs Ward – at least three (3) SYC members
  • Malvern Ward – at least two (2) SYC members
  • Ellesmere Ward – at least two (2) SYC members

These numbers show that in any council term, there must be at least 11 representatives from wards from predetermined geographic areas based on population numbers.

When this criteria has been met, an additional one (1) or two (2) members that add an element of diversity can be selected as representatives from wards, regardless of where are from.

Representatives from wards will have an additional focus on ensuring the voices of young people in their geographic area are heard in the decision-making process. The numbers of ward representatives will be regularly reviewed in relation to revised population figures. All Representatives from wards have the right to vote.

Te Taumutu Rūnanga Representation - one (1)One member will be selected by Te Taumutu Rūnanga to act as their representative on the Selwyn Youth Council. The liaising Selwyn District Council Community Services and Facilities (CSF) staff member will notify Te Taumutu Rūnanga when calls for applications are available for their representative. Te Taumutu Rūnanga will determine their contestable process to elect their rangatahi member. The Te Taumutu Rūnanga representative has the right to vote.

SDC Councillor Representation – up to two (2)
The Selwyn District Council Mayor will nominate the Councillor/s to represent Council on the SDC Youth Council. The appointment term of these Councillors is at the discretion of the Mayor. They are non-voting members of the Selwyn Youth Council.

Apprenticeships – up to three (3)
Each year up to three (3) apprentice positions are available. SYC Apprentices contribute to all discussions and activities/initiative planning and delivery. Apprenticeships assist in providing recommendations where necessary and have the right to vote. The apprentice role has been formed to allow for additional mentoring and training of young people who add an element of diversity not reflected on the current SYC.

This means in any given year, the Selwyn Youth Council would have a minimum of 13 voting members (assuming the Te Taumutu Rūnanga representative and minimum ward representation numbers are filled) and a maximum of 17 voting members. If the ‘minimum’ numbers are not reached for ward representative, or the Te Taumutu Rūnanga representative during the first round of applications, a second round of applications called. This will involve promotion more specifically targeted towards these roles. If the second round is unsuccessful, these positions may remain unfilled.

Term of appointment

Selwyn Youth Council “year” is from the 1 February–31 January. Ward representatives can be selected for either a twelve (12) month or twenty-four (24) month term. This term of appointment will be generally be decided by the selection panel who will take into account the current make-up of the Selwyn Youth Council, and the term indicated at time of application by the young person.

Te Taumutu Rūnanga will select a twelve (12) or twenty-four (24) month appointment term at the time of nomination of their Te Taumutu Rūnanga representative.

Youth councillors are only eligible to be a ward representative or Te Taumutu Rūnanga representative two years in total, regardless of if there is a break between terms. Apprentice positions are for 12 months only, they cannot have second term as an apprentice.

Apprentices are however encouraged to apply to become full members after completing their apprenticeship appointment term, however, must undergo the standard application process. Their time as an apprentice does not count towards the two (2) year limit, meaning if successful in the standard application process they could have a total of three years (3) as a member on the youth council.

This means ward representatives and the Te Taumutu Rūnanga representative completing a twenty-four (24) month appointment term are not eligible for reappointment, even if there is a break between reapplying.

If the ward representatives or Te Taumutu Rūnanga representative completes a twelve (12) month appointment term they are eligible for reappointment for a further 12-month term only.

Members who have completed their appointment, but are interested in re-applying must undergo the standard application process.

The term of appointment for the Selwyn District Council representative(s) is at the discretion of the Mayor. Usually, this is a three-year appointment term, with no limit to the number of terms they may serve. The Mayor will usually appoint the Selwyn District Council representative following local authority elections.

Positions become vacant upon completion of appointment term by a member or due to a resignation. If the young person does not reside during the majority of the year in Selwyn their membership will cease and a vacancy declared.

When a vacancy occurs

If a vacancy occurs due to a resignation before July in any youth council year, a by-election may be called at the discretion of the liaising CSF staff member. Promotion may be specific to the vacant role.

If there are vacancies either due to resignations after June in any youth council year or the ending of a Youth Councillors term, membership applications will be called for annually in November each year. Applications close in December. Vacancies will be promoted via Selwyn District Council website, Selwyn Schools, social media, Council media channels and local newspapers. Promotion will be aimed at 12 – 24 year-olds living in the Selwyn district.

Application process

  • Young people interested in being a SYC member are required to complete an online Application Form available on the Selwyn District Council website.
  • All applicants will be considered by the SYC Selection Committee who shall consist of at least three (3) members:
  • The Mayor and/or elected member/s of Selwyn District Council;
  • The Chairperson and/or Deputy Chairperson of the previous SYC, unless a conflict of interest occurs or if neither Chairperson nor Deputy Chairperson are returning or available. In this situation a representative from the SYC will be selected;
  • An appointed staff member from the Selwyn District Council.

The SYC Selection Committee will receive:

  • Terms of Reference
  • Selection Guidelines including:
    • Diversity of actual and potential SYC members (inclusive of gender, ethnicity, employment status and age diversity); activities and achievements from the previous year; provisional opportunities identified for the calendar year ahead.
    • Information from Application Forms.

Executive Team

SYC members will vote to elect their executive team including a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and Secretary on an annual basis. The positions will be held for a term of one year.

The position of Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary will be voted on and will be determined by a majority vote at the first quarterly meeting for a calendar year.

Positions will be open for reelection each calendar year. Youth council members holding one of these positions in their first year as a voting member will be eligible for re-election in their second year as a voting member.

The role of Treasurer will generally be performed by a member/s of the Finance and Funding portfolio.


The development of an annual work plan that outlines the goals and activities in relation to the Selwyn Youth Council Terms of Reference. This annual work plan to be presented as a Report to Council at the first presentation to Council during the Youth Council year.

This work plan must include the following deliverables that have been specially assigned to the Selwyn Youth Council to fulfil each year. The responsibility of these may lie with the wider youth council or may be delegated to specific portfolio groups.

The exact numbers and details of these deliverables may be changed by the Community Services and Facilities Group Manager from year to year to ensure alignment with wider organisational objectives and Council priorities.

  • Activity associated with increasing understanding and awareness of the role and aspirations of tangata whenua, in liaison with Te Taumutu Rūnanga.
  • Organising and/or actively participating in the delivery of at least four (4) projects, events or initiatives for young people each year that reflects what matters to the youth in the Selwyn district (may buddy with relevant Council staff member managing event or activity).
  • Organising and delivering at least three (6) engagements/consultations with Selwyn young people on matters that affect local young people and Selwyn Council.
  • Providing a Selwyn young person’s perspective on the Selwyn Community Fund Committee and Creative Communities Fund Committee to assist in funding allocation decisions (may buddy with relevant staff member managing funding).
  • Promoting, organising and facilitating a Selwyn Youth Council response to Selwyn Youth Event Fund applications.
  • Managing and monitoring Selwyn Youth social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram) with the aim to extend reach, increasing positive engagement and encouraging participation of a wider network of young people in the district.
  • Present to Council at least two (2) times per year. The first presentation should provide an overview of the annual work plan. The final presentation should be a summary of work completed during the year. A short version of this summary should be made publically available online.
  • Engaging in civic events, promoting a sense of civic pride and providing young people with education and information about democracy.


Each youth council member will join at least one portfolio group. These portfolios may include, but are not limited to:

  • Finance and funding
  • Events planning and delivery
  • Participatory democracy and civics
  • Work, education and training
  • Community programmes and facilities
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Each portfolio involves a large range of projects, youth councillors are encouraged to select portfolios they are passionate about while maintaining a manageable workload.

Each portfolio group will be led by a Selwyn District Council Community and Facilities staff member. The exact name and structure of the portfolios may change from year to year.

The priorities identified by consultation with young people in Selwyn and priorities identified by Selwyn District Council help guide the annual work plan for the youth council. The projects and deliverables for each portfolio group will be outlined in the annual work plan.

For each project, youth councillors in the associated portfolio group will develop a project plan alongside the CSF team lead. This will include a description, milestones, deliverables, steps/tasks, budget (if relevant), roles, responsibilities and timeframes.

The portfolio members are expected to engage and work with young people outside of the Selwyn Youth Council (episodic volunteers) to assist with the delivery of a project.

The portfolio group may ask the wider youth council to also assist with the delivery of a project. All portfolios are responsible for promotion and communications associated with their projects. Some Youth Councillors will take on an additional role to support promotion and communications for all youth council activities, working across all portfolios.


Selwyn Youth Council will have at least four (4) formal meetings each year, with a suggested number of six (6). The annual meeting calendar will be confirmed during the development of the work plan. The general location for these meetings to take place in is the Selwyn District Council headquarters (2 Norman Kirk Drive, Rolleston). However, this may change to any community space in Selwyn (community centres, libraries, marae and schools).

A meeting quorum must be half the voting members plus one. These meetings are intended as a forum for discussing updates on the annual work plan from each of the portfolio groups, and a chance to discuss whole youth council priorities/deliverables/projects.

Before each meeting, a public forum is available to allow for any individual, group or organisation to present plans or ideas they have for young people in the district to the Selwyn SYC. The public forum is open for 30 minutes and SYC members can assess if supporting a plan or idea is appropriate. Members of the public can contact the liaising CSF staff member to notify attendance.

When attendance is notified, or other correspondence is received it is up to the liaising CSF staff member and Selwyn Youth Council chair to respond. The chair and liaising staff member may direct the notifier to the relevant portfolio group, in the first instance. Attendance relating to presentations for funding at these forums will generally be referred to relevant portfolio group in first instance. All attendances and correspondence will be reported at the formal youth council meetings.

The portfolio groups will meet depending on the deliverables and timeframes of their projects. Each portfolio group will have time to present an update at every formal meeting. In addition, there will be a call for any specific agenda items made by the chair or secretary at least two (2) weeks before the council meeting, for larger discussions and briefings on specific projects.

The liaising CSF Council staff member confirms meeting dates for the year, oversees the SYC executive team plan out official meetings and ensures the Secretary is able to circulate the agenda to the wider youth council. The liaising CSF Council staff member ensures minutes are recorded by the Secretary and agendas are uploaded to the SYC page on the Selwyn District Council website as well as summarized on SYC.

The SYC executive is made up of the liaising CSF council staff member, chair, deputy chair, secretary and treasurer. The executive team meet at least one (1) week prior to official meetings to plan out the agenda and prepare for each meeting. Each executive team member provides an update and the Secretary is responsible for writing the agenda. This is then circulated by the Secretary to the wider youth council members at least one (1) week prior to the official meeting.


The SYC will report not less than two (2) times a year to Council. The SYC will present the report generally at the beginning and end of each calendar year which will typically include:

  • Social media posts, reach and data
  • Delivery and feedback of consultations / engagements
  • Delivery and feedback on SYC projects, events or initiatives including youth participant numbers and feedback
  • Attendance and participation in the Selwyn Community Fund Committee and Creative Communities Fund Committee.

Minutes of each SYC meeting will be made public on the Selwyn District Council Website. An annual summary of work completed by the Youth Council should be made publically available online at the end of each Youth Council year.

Resources and budget

Resources and budget for projects allocated to specific portfolio groups will be the responsibility of the identified CSF lead staff member.

There is a modest budget administered by Community Services and Facilities Group that may be available as a contribution towards costs associated with delivering an annual work plan, especially those not allocated to a specific portfolio/ CSF staff member.

Technological equipment including Council laptop and audio-visual equipment will also be available to assist in the running of formal meetings.

Fundraising and sponsorship may be required to meet some costs of the annual work plan.

The SYC has established a discretionary fund called the Selwyn Youth Event Fund. It is managed by the SYC, and funding is to provide support for groups or individuals whose events or activities contribute to the strengthening of youth wellbeing in Selwyn. The Terms of Reference for this Fund will become an attachment to these Terms of Reference.

At pre-arranged formal meetings, members of the SYC will assess all the applications received in a particular time period, at the same time. The SYC will consider recommendations from relevant portfolio group, vote and distribute the funds as they see appropriate. Policy, guidelines and the online form are available on the Selwyn District Council website.

Resolution of Grievances

In the event a conflict occurs between Youth Council members, the Chair and Deputy Chair, the liaising CSF staff member will work to resolve it. If the grievance is about a fellow Youth Council member, the issue should be raised with Chair and/or the liaising CSF staff member.

If the grievance is about the Chair, the issue should be raised with the liaising CSF staff member. All conflicts will be addressed and resolved in accordance with the Selwyn Youth Council Agreement and principles of natural justice.

Communication – Media and Social Media

All communications with the media will be conducted under the guidance of, and with the support of the liaising CSF staff member and the Communications Team at SDC.

Youth Councillors directly approached by media outlets will, in the first instance, redirect enquiries to the liaising CSF staff member and the Communications Team at SDC.

Media statements on behalf of SYC will be issued by the Chair / Deputy Chair or the liaising CSF staff member with guidance from the Communications Team. The Chair can delegate authority to other Youth Councillors under certain circumstances, for example, a fellow Youth Councillor is managing the project that is the focus of the enquiry with guidance from the Communications Team.

The Youth Council at the beginning of each calendar year will select a number of youth council members to update the Selwyn Youth Council Facebook page and other social media accounts. Young people taking on these roles should aim to grow and strengthen the relationship with the network of young people in Selwyn, help raise the profile of Selwyn Youth Council, to ensure local young people and wider council staff know that SYC exists and is clear on its role.

The ‘What do YOUth Think’ stamp may be used in all consultations/ feedback opportunities associated with the Selwyn Youth Council. The ‘BOOST’ stamp may be used for all youth-friendly events associated with the Selwyn District Council. The use of these logos may be reviewed and changed as deemed appropriate by the Selwyn District Council Customer Services and Facilities Team.


Terms of Reference to be reviewed bi-annually.

Next review date: January 2022