The organisation offering a voice for our youth has taken a leaf out of one of Auckland's youngest mayoral candidates to deliver important messages on local government in a convenient manner.

The Auckland Youth Advisory Panel and Howick Youth Council knows that most young people will not read through dozens of documents or public notices to stay up to date with what is happening in their electorate or suburb, panel chairwoman Veisinia Maka said

So the council decided to take its message to the masses through brief, informative and engaging videos that fill in young people on how local government works and why they should be involved.

Maka said she has wanted to find a youth-friendly way to get people involved in local politics for a long time.


"Sometimes, these processes are extremely boring to engage in especially as young people. No young person wants to sit and read 30-page-long documents about Auckland Council."

Using the Howick byelection as its testing field, the council has produced three videos to date.

Howick By-Election: What is a Councillor?

Ever wondered what your councillors can actually do for you? Still not sure who you'll choose to be your next Howick ward councillor? We're back with the third video of our #ByElectionWishes series! This time, we've enlisted the help of Veisinia Maka and Cr Josephine Bartley to help. If you live in the Howick Ward, you should have received your voting papers in the mailbox. You have one more day to post your votes! Don't feel like using the mail, or want to physically submit your votes after September 10? Check out where you can drop off your votes here: All voting will close at noon on Thursday 13 September. Special thanks to Veisinia and our videographer Irra Lee. #HowickByElection

Posted by Howick Youth Council on Saturday, 8 September 2018

"As young people, we get asked 'how should we engage with youth'; whether it may be civic education, plans or policies."

She wanted to work with local talented videographers in Howick and Maka was granted $500 to produce five videos.

The inspiration came from one of New Zealand's youngest MPs, the Green Party's Chloe Swarbrick, who had become a champion of social media, Maka said.

Green Party MP and former Auckland mayoral candidate Chloe Swarbrick says posting videos on social media brings important information to the screens of youths in a convenient manner. Photo / Nick Reed
Green Party MP and former Auckland mayoral candidate Chloe Swarbrick says posting videos on social media brings important information to the screens of youths in a convenient manner. Photo / Nick Reed

In two years Swarbrick has posted 87 videos to her official Facebook, her first being the announcement she would be running for the Auckland mayoralty and her latest, a four-minute video of her talking about freedom of speech in Parliament.

Swarbrick said she had embraced video and social media during her run for the Auckland mayoralty, where she was third with more than 26,000 votes, to be noticed by voters.

"The reason I decided to use video for the Auckland mayoralty, I was cognitive I would be ignored on mainstream media, we had to figure out how to get the message across."


"Particularly when I was one of 19 candidates, I wasn't able to talk to mainstream media about anything apart from my age," Swarbrick said.

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Posted by Chlöe Swarbrick on Thursday, 28 July 2016

Length was also important in an age where people's attention was being pulled in several directions.

"In 2018, there is an avalanche of info and content and if you want to engage them it has to be convenient for them to an extent."

One of the most common questions she was asked after becoming a member of Parliament was 'how do we get young people engaged', Swarbrick said. Young voters are generally passionate about issues they care about, but discouraged by the processes around politics.

"A lot of people have switched off from politics.

"It is about accessibility, you are inviting people to engage in a public talk that is very time bound and geographically bound, it becomes complicated for people to organise around their normal day-to-day stuff."

The council would continue to make videos on matters it thought important to young people if the current trial proved successful, Maka said.

Results for the Howick byelection were declared earlier today provisionally electing Paul Young as the new councillor for Howick.

Howick Ward Byelection Preliminary Results
Paul Young (Independent) - 7624
Jim Donald - 5826
Phil Taylor (Independent) - 5600
Damian Light (Putting East Auckland First) - 5500
Jessica Rose Collings (Independent) - 1786
Olivia Montgomery (Independent) - 1671