Te Tairawhiti has always been a dynamic and culturally diverse region. Over the years we’ve become more aware about the value of good information, the importance of capturing data and leveraging local intelligence. Over the last 3 years, through the global pandemic, 6 severe weather events and a National State of Emergency we’ve been able to hone those skills and flex that muscle. 


But somehow our people still represent some of the lowest participation statistics when it counts, I mean literally counts, voting at elections both local and national, and most recently, Census. 


I’m not using this space to convince you of things you already know, that your vote determines the leadership and direction our country and our region moves in, that completing census ensures that our information accurately reflects life in Te Tairawhiti. Right now, we can safely say that our Census response rate means that the information is useless. 


We don’t want that. And I personally don’t want that for us. In an ideal world every baby, child, teenager, adult, parent, aunty, uncle and grandparent is counted. That we have a number for how many of our people are living under the breadline, we need to know how many whanau are suffering with illness or disability, how many use public transport, if your home is warm and dry or if it isn’t. This information may seem trivial in our day to day lives, but these are the micro details that inform all levels of government, of iwi, of investment. It informs how services may be developed and resourced. It impacts the quality of our lives. 


We have time to change this and I hope we do. As individuals we all have a sphere of influence, people who trust us, who value our opinions and who will follow your lead. This is our chance to contribute to our region in a meaningful way, you count, your household counts. So, give it a go. It's nowhere near as hard as you think it is, do it online, request a physical form, do it, and then talk about it. Every form we complete lifts the fog of Tairawhiti mystery and provides us with the clarity to know what to do next. 


BLOG by Rawinia Parata: GDC Councillor  


CENSUS 2023 Website:  https://www.census.govt.nz/