John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Election loss inspires Tauranga ship's captain

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Welcome Bay ship's captain and church pastor Jesse Misa is throwing himself into community work after emerging inspired by his unsuccessful election bid to become a city councillor.

Mr Misa said he did not give himself a real chance of winning a seat on the Te Papa/Welcome Bay Ward but his strong showing in the polls had propelled him into wanting to fix some fundamental problems in the community.

''I am more committed than ever,'' Mr Misa, 57, told the Bay of Plenty Times.

The election turned out to be a lightning rod by heightening his awareness of community issues. He visited 1200 homes and talked to many more people at community events.

''I felt like I garnered a lot of support. It was a real shot in the arm for me.''

Mr Misa wants to translate this support into organising a concert in Welcome Bay to raise money for homeless families, and to help fight crime by drawing neighbours together through initiatives like running street barbeques.

The initiatives will be run under the banner of the Do Something Tauranga website which he was relaunching.

He also plans to join the board of the Welcome Bay Community Centre in order to help him really engage with the community and do something about crime which increased 45 per cent in the suburb.

Mr Misa said he wanted neighbours to introduce themselves to one another and to have more events for families in Welcome Bay. His ultimate goal was to roll out these initiatives across the rest of the city, including concerts at Mount Maunganui and the central city.

His crime prevention initiatives would be ''more organic'' than Neighbourhood Watch and would focus on creating connections and cultivating a sense of belonging by holding small-scale events in streets, he said.

Mr Misa also wanted to work with other candidates who did not win seats on the council. ''It is sad if our community feels disengaged.''

His enthusiasm even extended to fixing the problem of Tauranga not having a universal tsunami warning system when the big one arrived at short notice.

''We think we can develop something that can help the whole city.''

Mr Misa was looking at an app for hand-held mobile devices that emitted an alarm when triggered. ''We have the technology, why don't we use it?''

Jesse Misa
- Polled 1972 votes to finish fourth in the Te Papa/Welcome Bay Ward
- Ship's captain and pastor of Sanctuary of Grace Church
- International ambassador for Marine Reach medical mercy ships

- Bay of Plenty Times

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