Ka Pai Kaiti’s mission

By Kristine Walsh | http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?id=16030

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MERE Pohatu was just one of nearly 30,000 people entitled to vote in the last Gisborne District Council elections and, come polling day, she jumped at the chance to have her say.

But Ms Pohatu was among just 52 percent of voters who turned out to tick the boxes in 2007. It was the same at the 2004 election Figures were better in 2001 — 62 percent

Which is why, as a Ka Pai Kaiti trustee, she is one of the forces driving the newly-minted Voter Participation Project.

“Ka Pai Kaiti is building on a long-standing aim of Te Poho o Rawiri Marae and (community facility) Te Reo o Te Iwi Kokiri to get local people out there and voting in local body elections,” she says. “We have to make local decision-making more relevant for young people so we are all actively involved in planning and making our communities more resilient.”

With Gisborne District Council and Tairawhiti District Health Board elections scheduled for this year, the project is gaining momentum with funding secured to pay a Voter Participation project manager.

“It has been great to see the two local runanga support the project along with Gisborne District Council, the Electoral Commission and local residents” said Ms Pohatu, who is also Te Puni Kokiri’s regional director. “We are now able to get the project under way and this new role provides an exciting opportunity for the right person to lead the process.”

Once Ka Pai Kaiti finds a project manager — to be employed on a part-time basis for most of the year — it will be responsible for finding out why people don’t vote, then encouraging them to do so.

Its role will involve studying international research on what works to mobilise citizens who don’t usually vote. And it will also need to design an education and mobilisation campaign “including the co-ordination of neighbourhood workers and volunteers to promote key messages in targeted communities”.

According to Mere Pohatu, there will be a strong focus on targeting young people, particularly those ones who will this year be eligible to vote for the first time.

“We do have some idea about why people choose not to vote,” she says. “Our challenge now is to motivate changes in awareness and attitude.”

One thought on “Ka Pai Kaiti’s mission

  1. to kapai kaiti we are students at ilminster intermediate and our passion is for art. we have successfully finished an inquiry it was ,can graffiti bombing prevent tagging and acording to our inquiry it can . and we are wondaring if we could do a graffiti mural that beniffits the kaiti neighborhood.it also shows a better future for the kids if you have any questions contact us at ilminsters school zone.
    our kind regards ilminster intermediate students from room 18 sione and hiwirori……….. =)-

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