Bernice Mene wants to know what you think New Zealand’s future should look like. One of this country’s best-loved sportspeople, Bernice is a member of the Constitutional Review Panel that over the next two years will consult with the public on their views of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements. Bernice played 78 tests for the Silver Ferns and captained the domestic team the Southern Sting to five national netball championship titles. She is a mother of three, a qualified language teacher, a sports mentor, and has been a sports commentator.
What do you think it means to be a New Zealander in the 21st century?
Being a New Zealander in the 21st century means being part of a multicultural society, celebrating differences but acknowledging our past and history. New Zealanders compete well on a world scale – we just have to keep pushing ourselves to do so.
What do you think are the major issues facing youth today and in the next 20 years?
The rate of change is so fast these days that it is hard to predict the next 20 years – our cultural mix is constantly changing, as are economic trends and the types of jobs we are doing, and of course underlying all of that is rapidly progressing technology. The main challenge, I believe, will be adapting to change and making the most of being global citizens, not just being caught in a small community mindset.
Why do you think youth should vote?
I think it is very important to vote as it is about having your say in the future of the country. It is also about the process of informing yourself to make decisions, having an opinion and exercising your right to vote.
Why do you think it is important for youth to engage with the referendum?
Again I think it is particularly important for youth to engage with the referendum as they are tomorrow’s decision-makers and leaders. The referendum affects everyone – individuals, communities, the whole of New Zealand and the way the country is structured and works.