This blog is part of a series of blogs profiling all candidates standing for Councils across the region who are 35 or under as we aim to increase youth engagement in local politics. Seed Waikato is non-partisan.
Cassidy is a passionate and motivated young leader within the youth and community development sectors of the Waikato. Born and raised rural, Cassidy has a wealth of knowledge and lived experiences within his community, and is campaigning to advocate and influence positive outcomes for all through the Waipā District Council. Cassidy connects ancestrally to Tainui waka, and draws on his whakapapa for strength, guidance and inspiration when advocating with his communities for transformative change.
Q&A with Cassidy!
1. What is your vision for the city/district/region?
Waipā is the source for all to thrive.
2. Why did you decide to run in this year’s elections?
In 2018 I was the Waipā Rangatahi Delegate for Tuia Te Here Tāngata, a Rangatahi Māori initiative for the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. Through this kaupapa, I received mentoring from both the Mayor of Waipā, and Iwi Relations Advisor. This opportunity gave insights to Local Government and connected me with Rangatahi Māori throughout Aotearoa passionate about their communities. I developed a strong understanding of the importance of Local Government and was supported to stand and exemplify my commitment to my community, to inspiring young people and to partnering with Mana Whenua to influence positive transformative change for Waipā.
3. What are your top 3 priorities in your campaign?
1. Improving the health and wellbeing of the Waipā and the people who call Waipā home.
2. Strengthening Māori and Council partnership to work towards honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
3. Inspiring young people to engage meaningfully with local government to build a sustainable future.
4. What’s been your biggest learning in your campaigning?
The importance of bringing people along on my journey.
The communities disenfranchised from engaging in Local Government around Aotearoa hold the many solutions to our future, and it is through the education and support of uplifting these voices, that Waipā can thrive.
5. What do you think needs to be done to engage young people in voting?
Prioritising targeted funding and resources that enables young people to engage meaningfully on multiple platforms. Central and Local Government need to drive a solid stance on investment in the younger generation. This also involves the inclusion of Civic Education within NZ Education Curriculum.
6. What skills and experience do you bring to the table?
I currently work for a Māori youth organisation in health promotion, with working relationships in; government ministries, education providers, health service providers, tribal entities and wider community stakeholders.
Throughout studying at The University of Waikato, I developed governance and advocacy experience as the Vice-President Māori of the Waikato Students Union and Co-President of Te Ranga Ngāku (Māori Business Students Network). These roles all held committee membership of various University Governance Boards and Committees.
I completed an Internship within the private sector at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Private Business Team and worked as a Research Intern for the Waikato-Tainui College for Research.
I have strong communication and relationship building skills which are essential for empowering the Waipā in partnership with Māori, and in collaboration with community stakeholders.
7. What sets you apart from other candidates?
I’m a 24-year-old Māori male of a diverse sexual identity. The many intersections of my identity inspire my compassionate understanding of the many challenges Waipā face ahead as a community. Through navigating meaningfully through these diverse spaces of the Waipā, I will be the strongest advocate for positive transformational change articulated with confidence and humility.