Using the medium of haka, an initiative was launched yesterday in Ōpōtiki called Vote HAKA Vote. Similar to the ice challenge, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui cultural group set the standard with performers voting after their performance.
Vote KAPA Vote maybe the first initiative of its kind with Te Whānau ā-Apanui taking centre stage. However Te Kāea was told that today is strictly a non-political party event.
Labour’s, Rawiri Waititi says, “'So you all know, this is not a Labour, Māori Party or MANA initiative, this is an event to bring people together.”
Traditionally, Waiariki is a Labour region, and in the last general elections the voters who featured highly on the Waiariki roll who didn't vote were youth aged 18 to 25.
According to Roger Rakuraku, “What we have seen and researched is that our Māori youth don't vote, because some of them don't know, and some wonder what the point is!”
The event not only hopes to create a pathway for people to vote, but to also uplift the community of Ōpōtiki with the political issues here focusing on education and youth.
Traey Hiltler says, “Firstly for me it's education because I work as a Māori teacher in our schools.”
Roger Rakuraku says the big issues for him are, “Unemployment, getting back into education, the skills of our ancestors, having no home and no benefit.”
Te Kāea understands that over 200 people involved have casted their vote.