Here are the notes from the Ka Pai Kaiti Trustees meeting in early 2011 that identifies the priorities for KPK activities in 2011-2012.
Click on the link to download the draft plan – Ka Pai Kaiti Draft Annual Plan 2010
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.”
Celebrating the diversity of the Gisborne community and 170 years of history since the signing of the Treaty in Tairawhiti is the theme of the Waitangi Day event at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae this Saturday.
A full size version of the ‘Tairawhiti Treaty’ taken around the East Coast by William Williams in May and June of 1840 will be a popular attraction with many locals looking for the mark of their ancestors amongst the names on the local version of Te Tiriti.
Since 2001 residents association and community development organisation KaPai Kaiti have been organising Waitangi Day commemorations in Kaiti. “Last year was the first time we had it at Te Poho o Rawiri and all the feedback was very positive” said event organiser Manu Caddie. “The Treaty signing in this region was a critical process that paved the way for British and other foreigners to settle in the district. While there is much debate over rights and wrongs of the past 170 years, the Treaty signing remains one of the major milestones in the history of our area and the basis for the future of all peoples co-existing in this community.”
Mr Caddie estimates close to 2,000 people participate each year in the Waitangi Day event designed to increase residents knowledge of local history and build a stronger sense of community within Gisborne.
A street-on-street sports competition involving teams of local families is being organised by Tairawhiti Men Against Violence along with a display of images from the Super Gizzy Fullas photo competition. The annual Treaty Trivia quiz is always popular as is the t-shirt screen-printing provided by Kaiti artist Melanie Tahata.
“This is an awesome opportunity to celebrate the different cultures that make up modern day Gisborne and to remember where we have come from” said Mr Caddie “Through the generosity of the Tangata Whenua, it is also a great chance to spend some time with friends and family in the special place that is Te Poho o Rawiri.”
A record number of food, information and activity stalls will be nourishing the body, mind and soul throughout the day which starts at 10am and finishes around 3pm.
More information about the day is available on the KaPai Kaiti website: www.kapaikaiti.com
A staff report going to the full Council meeting this Thursday recommends that GDC does not support the Ka Pai Kaiti Voter Participation Project unless it focuses on the whole city and does not target areas with low voter participation.
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Click here to read the staff report: Voter_Participation_Project_(17_December_2009)
Click here to read the updated project summary: Kaiti Voter Participation Project Summary (12 Dec)
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Ka Pai Kaiti disagree with much of the analysis in the report. We also disagree with one of the recommendations (that the project should not focus only on neighbourhoods with low participation) but, subject to agreement from existing project partners, can agree to accomodate the other (that the project should not use control groups to compare the effectiveness of the approach) for the following reasons:
1. This project is specifically designed to increase participation in particular neighbourhoods that had comparatively low turn out at the 2007 election. These neighbourhoods also have higher proportions of young, Maori and low-income earners. We are interested in ensuring participation rates are more equal across the demographic profile of the city not just about raising participation rates across the board. Voters from poorer communities often have different priorities to others but because they have lower participation rates their issues and priorities are not reflected in the composition of Council. A range of historical and current social and personal issues contribute to the lower participation rates of people from neighbourhoods experiencing higher levels of deprivation.
2. Even if the project wanted to include the whole city there is not enough resource to undertake the kind of work that research suggests is effective and GDC are not offering any funding to support the project – even though they say these issues are important to them.
3. Including other neighbourhoods that had low participation rates at the last election will mean that we will be less able to determine whether or not the project has made any difference because a range of other factors could have influenced the outcome for those communities. However, subject to agreement from existing project partners, we are willing to compromise on this issue and include two other areas that had low turn out at the last election (Mangapapa and Elgin). This will mean that our limited resources are stretched further and the potential impact likely to be diminished but we see it as important that GDC is involved and in a spirit of solidarity with neighbourhoods similar to Kaiti across the city, we are keen to make this happen if residents from those are interested in being involved.
Ka Pai Kaiti are encouraging interested residents and people everywhere to attend the Council meeting at 9am Thursday 17 December and/or contact the Mayor, Councillors, the CEO and/or The Gisborne Herald before Thursday to express support for the project as it stands.
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Meng Foon (Mayor): email@example.com
Lindsay McKenzie (CEO): firstname.lastname@example.org
Nona Aston: email@example.com
Craig Bauld: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Burdett: (06) 864 8966
Andy Cranston: email@example.com
Allan Davidson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alan Hall: email@example.com
Roger Haisman: (027) 332 8601
Hemi Hikawai: Jimmyhikawai@xtra.co.nz
Gary Hope: firstname.lastname@example.org
Atareta Poananga: email@example.com
Kathy Sheldrake: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Seymour: email@example.com
Graeme Thomson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Wilson: email@example.com
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The Gisborne Herald: firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Hajnal, Z. & Trounstine, J. “Where Turnout Matters: The Consequences of Uneven Turnout in City Politics” 2005 Journal of Politics. 67(2): 515-535.
- Māori electoral participation research programme and reports 2004-06 – NZ Electoral Commission
- Luiten, J. “A History of Local Government on the East Coast”. Wellington, Crown Forestry Rental Trust, 2009
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Ka Pai Kaiti has been encouraging Gisborne District Council to take a leadership role in local housing issues.
Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti (www.punareo.maori.nz) has opened its doors in early July and already has a full roll of 25 tamariki participating in the immersion Maori early childhood education programme. A high proportion of whanau are joining their mokopuna at Puna and spending the day with them.