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Cook Islanders enter New Zealand’s local elections

Thursday 15 September 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Politics


Cook Islanders enter New  Zealand’s local elections
Aere Anne (Ma) Nicholas is standing independently for the Papatoetoe Subdivision on the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board in the 2022 New Zealand Local elections. 22091401

A number of Cook Islanders have entered New Zealand’s local body elections to be held from September 16 to October 8, as candidates.

Aere Anne (Ma) Nicholas is one of them and up for the challenge, standing as an Independent candidate for the Papatoetoe Subdivision on the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board.

Nicholas believes she has what it takes to serve the people of Papatoetoe to ensure they “benefit from effective and efficient decisions concerning the Board’s direction”.

“Papatoetoe is my home, my place of work, and I am committed to serving my community to make it the best place to live,” she said.

Over the years, Nicholas has seen that a lot has changed in Papatoetoe.

She sometimes feels that Papatoetoe is forgotten in view of the rise in crime and the low rate of employment.

 “I want to ensure my community remains resilient and safe. I believe I can bring considerable life lived experiences and be my community’s strong voice - to be actually heard at the table.”

Her diverse community experiences constantly change. However, she is confident she can bring consistency and be of significant value to the Board, in a manner that recognises local voice and local needs without being burdened by the affiliation to larger central government parties.

Her parents the late Matamaru (8 July 1933 - 28 April 2017) and Manarangi Nicholas BEM (4 August 1931 - 14 March 2006) were both staunch community advocates in Rarotonga, in their home village of Ruatonga and other districts, the Vaka, religious organisations, sports and cultural events. Her father Manarangi was the Pu Tapere (leader) of “Te Rua O Te Tonga” (the Capital) until his passing.

Nicholas is the middle child of 11 children, she has five brothers and five sisters. She is married to Narii Pierre of Tupapa/Matavera and has two children, Robert and MahiNarii, and three moko (grandsons).

Growing up as a child in the presence of her parents, dedication and allegiance to society has certainly rubbed off on Nicholas.

She wants to bring the same ethics to the Papatoetoe-Otara Local Board.

If elected, Nicholas said it would present her with an opportunity to work smart and hard for the community and to ensure that the residents are represented and heard in matters that have a great deal meaning to them.

“I believe that governance must be undertaken ethically, around family values, cultural traditions, environmental responsibility and just doing what is right.

“I’m passionate about empowering and developing my diverse community, and to also continue working in partnership with Mana Whenua honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

Nicholas expressed that through locally-driven events, strengthening neighbourhood support groups and ensuring the people of Papatoetoe have a strong voice to Council was needed.

“Our town is a wonderful place to live and work in, although its quality and safety have deteriorated recently,” she said.

“Through improving services to uplift my community, empowering the underprivileged towards better choices and enhancing the community-spirit, I’m committed to making Papatoetoe a safer place for all families to grow together.

“Papatoetoe is a multicultural community that we all belong to, and should be proud of, I am – for better choice.”

Ko Mauao te maunga

Ko Tauranga, Te moana nui o kiva nga moana

Ko Takitimu, ko Tainui nga waka

Ko Ngati Ranginui, Ngati Haua nga iwi

Ko Tawhitinui te marae

Ko Papatoetoe toku kainga i naea nei

Other Cook Islanders running in the New Zealand local elections are: In the South Waikato district, two are running as candidates for the Tokoroa Ward – Julius Daniel-Mata and Josiah Teokotai, Harry Pupuke is hoping to fill one of eight vacancies on the Manurewa Local Board and Joe Glassie-Rasmussen is running for the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board.

According to the Aotearoa New Zealand Electoral Commission/Te Kaikiaki Take Kōwhiri, the local elections decide who represents the community on the city, district, and regional councils. In some parts of New Zealand, local elections are also held for local and community boards, licensing trusts, and some other organisations. From September 16-21, the voting documents will be sent to all enrolled voters by local councils. Voting closes at midday Saturday, October 8, 2022.