Candidates talk strengths

One of the candidates for the vacant Waipā Māori seat says because she is a younger candidate, she will be able to connect with all whānau.

Dale-Maree Morgan says her youth is the key point of difference when compared to the other three candidates.

She says connecting with whānau, from kaumatua to rangatahi, is vital for capturing and conveying voices of the community she is keen on serving.

Each of the candidates – Morgan, Bill Harris, Gaylene Roberts and Barney Manaia – were asked by The News to name their key points of difference.

Roberts says she is an approachable person who is always open to a face-to-face conversation, email or phone chat.

“Giving Māori a voice involves listening to their feedback, engaging in constructive dialogue, and incorporating their perspective into decision-making processes.”

Manaia says he is a fluent Māori speaker and has a Masters in Indigenous Studies. He sits on the national Miro Māori executive for NZEI Primary teachers Union, which means he can skim read, critique data and think on his feet.

“I enjoy serving communities and talking with people – serve my marae, hapū and iwi while finding time to work in community initiatives that support Starship or mental health initiatives.”

Harris says all Māori have a strong social justice background and that was a key platform for him.

“I’ll leave it to Māori to decide on my worthiness to be elected.”

Each candidate was asked their view on the resignation of Takena Stirling who resigned as the Waipā Māori ward councillor following his suspension as a lawyer.

“Currently all I have is maanaki for Takena,” said Harris.

“Here is where tikanga māori is appropriate – it isn’t for me to judge Takena or his actions, I’m in the running for the Māori ward position, for the people I would like to represent, ko te kaupapa te mea nui,” said Morgan.

“Mistakes happen and it’s important that Takena moves through that space and uses his skills to continue helping whanau, hapū and Iwi benefit and improve their circumstances. He has a proud whānau – kia kaha Takena,” said Manaia.

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