"Our council haven't done a good job in engaging with our communities, our diverse communities, including the Māori community," said Ngāi Te Rangi iwi youth co-ordinator and Moana DJ Josh Te Kani, who is standing for councillor at large for Tauranga City Council.

"There came a time [when] I had to give a submission to council, where I noticed there was a lack of understanding there for our values, especially as Māori people."

In a video interview with Local Focus, Te Kani said he would like to see change, including an engagement strategy that connects council to Māori communities.

"I think it's always going to come down to connection," he said. "If they're not engaged, they're not connected, they're not going to feel any worth in taking part in local government elections.

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"Not only are we not voting, and the statistics are there, hardly any of us are enrolled and the ones that are enrolled aren't voting. As well as that, it's not inspiring any of our people to take the stand either. By even throwing my hat in the ring, we're going to inspire that kind of change, especially amongst our young leaders."

He says there needs to be more clarity on how to vote.

"A lot of our people are just uneducated on how to vote. So we need to give that understanding firstly, and that there are people there that can be influential and stand for their values."

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