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Thursday, 23 May 2019 08:48 am

Young Maori mum not a victim of statistics

Feb 20th, 2016 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, News, Top Picture


Terihia Trillo and her daughter Nevaeh

TEENAGE mothers are nearly three times more likely to be uneducated and unemployed, a Statistics New Zealand report shows.  

The report says young mothers also have the lowest labour force participation rates and the highest unemployment rates.

Young Māori women were identified as being more likely to be mothers than young women of other ethnicities.

Working to prove the statistics wrong is young mum Terihia Trillo, who had her daughter, Nevaeh, when she was just 17.

Ms Trillo said when she learned she was pregnant five years ago she had huge fears her education and career were over.

“I cried when I found out, I had no idea what to do next.” she said.

“I knew I needed to study for exams but I had to find a house and get money and sort out my life”.

“I had to put my dreams on pause for a while.”

New Zealand has one of the highest teenage birth rates of OECD countries- only behind Mexico, Turkey and the United States.

Three percent of women aged 15-19 years have dependent children, but the number changes according to ethnic groups.

Teenage Māori women had the highest proportion of mothers at 6 percent, followed by teenage Pacific women at 4 percent.

Teenage European women sat at 2 percent, and teenage Asian women at 1 percent.

The report shows two-thirds of young mothers are solo parents.

When Ms Trillo’s relationship with Nevaeh’s father ended and she became a single mum she decided to take control of her life.

She went on to gain all three levels of NCEA, got university entrance, and successfully completed a number of hospitality courses.

More recently she has just completed a personal training course.

Ms Trillo said having a child completely changed her life and made her reprioritize everything.

“Neveah helps motivate me,” she said. “

“She made me stronger and everything I do is for her”.

Ms Trillo said there is real stigma against teenage mums and she has to work harder than most to prove herself.

“When I was pregnant people just looked horrified,” she said.

“People stare at us all the time and I know I’m being judged”.

Ms Trillo credits family support as the reason she was able to complete her education and reenter the workforce.

“My family was amazing,” she said.

“I’ve been pretty lucky.”

Social Statistics Manager for Statistics NZ Diane Ramsey said the findings of the report were worrying.

“The education picture is particularly important because we have a labor market that increasingly requires people to have higher qualifications,” she said.

“Missing out on education may limit young mother’s employment prospects and career development throughout their lives.”


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