The world has been in a turbulent era of world leadership. Individuals like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson have lowered our expectations for our world leaders. Division and toxic rhetoric has been a staple for many politicians this past decade. Even leaders such as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is considered great on the world stage, has vocal advocates against her within New Zealand. The world needs leadership that does not divide, that listens, and brings community to a world in turmoil. No rhetoric, no shit-slinging, no half measures. We need someone who attacks problems with love and an earnest desire to make positive change. You might think it’s “only” our mayoral elections, but there’s one person who stands out above the rest.
Fa’anana Efeso Collins grew up in Otara as one of many siblings. His time growing up here informed many beliefs he has today. During his time at intermediate, Efeso was told by a Palagi teacher that he shouldn’t go to school in Otara because he was “too bright”. The insinuation here is that Otara is not a place for bright kids to get an education. This has shaped how Efeso sees the education system and his ideas on how to improve it.
“More than anything, I want an education system that believes in our young people”. Efeso has said “For me, the purpose of education is in ensuring that we create the conditions that are going to harness, support, nurture, and release the creativity, innovation, desire, and passion of every child and young person in New Zealand…That means we need a broad overarching position on education, with a passionate purpose. What we need now is an education system that is culturally responsive. That is going to ensure our teachers know how to engage with our children who are diverse, who come from a multiplicity of ethnic backgrounds.”
During his time at The University of Auckland, Efeso became the first AUSA president of Pacific descent. He now runs for mayor and if he were to win, would be the first Auckland mayor of Pacific descent. It feels only right that we finally get a Pacific mayor in the largest Polynesian city in the world, and since he has a history of trailblazing these positions; the hope is there.
Efeso is a big advocate for climate change, which is evident with one of his main goals for Auckland in making public transport free. Efeso became the chair for Manukau, and his support for the people of that community is consistent, as making public transport free will benefit South Auckland. For many in Manukau, with large families on lower incomes with poor public transport options, the only choice was to keep on driving. Reports have shown that 30% of income for families in Manukau goes towards transport. Freeing up that income to go towards other necessities will allow families and students, especially Pasifika, to put money towards other costs
On the future of Pacific youth, Efeso has stated that “I wonder if we’ve got a generation [of Pacific youth] that is coming through the New Zealand system saying I want to be more than just what’s gone before me. What this next generation has is the ability to tell a new story, and as they develop this new story, they’re able to get that pride back”
Efeso is what our city needs right now. We need that sense of community to fix issues that affect all of us. An interview with him will come soon, but for now, register to vote in our local elections.
Efeso For Mayor.