A South Auckland mother and her son are seeking election on their local community board of Manurewa. Tanya Kaihe and Harley Kaihe-Katterns say there hasn't been any Māori representation on the board for the last three terms and they are on a mission to change that.
The duo might be new to local elections, but they are passionate about the town they grew up in.
Mr. Kaihe-Katterns (Ngāpuhi) says, “There are no Māori on the board and that's a big concern to me. I want to sit on the board as a spokesperson for all Māori of Manurewa, and a voice for the youth because there are a lot in the area.”
Nearly 25% of Māori live in Manurewa. The polluted waters of the Manukau Harbour is a concern for Tanya, which she remembers not being able to swim in as a child.
Ms. Kaihe says, “My dad being a prolific seafood lover would take us all the way over to maraetai, so we could get our kaimoana. And we used to think why can't we get it here, so those were the questions we asked when we were little. Now I'm a grandmother now, and I'm wanting to know why has that not improved?”
The mother and son are part of a new group of three including Greg Whaiapu called #ItsWorthItManurewa who entered the local elections a month ago. In the short time, they've run a vigorous social media campaign.
23 candidates are competing for eight seats on the Manurewa Local Board. Six of the candidates are Māori. Tanya and Harley admit this election isn't easy.
“Our people don't vote, our people feel a bit of hopelessness around having any decision-making powers, and so that's why we've put our hand up, we want to see if we can change that.”
The postal ballot closes on Saturday, October 8, at noon. People are encouraged to post their voting papers by this Thursday.