A 22-year-old has got her sights set on becoming a Wellington city councillor and starting a "youthquake" in the capital.
Tamatha Paul has launched her campaign to stand as a Lambton Ward independent candidate in the local body elections this October.
The Tokoroa-raised Paul has spent the past five months as Victoria University Students' Association's president, after being elected last year.
She is the student association's second Māori president and first ever female-Māori president in the university's 122-year history.
Paul also studied political science and international relations, a decision after growing up in a town with a district council who "hardly showed their faces."
She said her drive to stand as a candidate was because of the "huge gap between the people that are supposed to be representing us and what we think and care about".
She said that much of Wellington City and the Lambton Ward were made up of young people and students and their voices were not represented.
One barrier was local government voting being by post and it being a restriction for students, who don't usually live in the same place for longer than 12 months.
"That's why the young people don't engage in general, I want to be able to take back that power,
"They don't see anyone that looks like them, talks like them, or cares about the same issues they do."
Paul said she was inspired by Chloe Swarbrick and her Auckland mayoral campaign in 2016. She was also 22 at the time.
Being up against councillors twice her age didn't bother her. She said her experience working with an institution as big as Victoria University and representing 22,000 students helped.
"I am confident that yes I am young, but I will not need any more help than any other new councillor that goes into that role,
"Because of my age I know and am committed to working twice as hard to prove that."
She said she will spend her campaign "rarking up" young people, starting a "youthquake" and doing her best to get them involved and to postal boxes.
Some of the issues Paul wants to tackle
• Youth voice – having a young voice represented on council
• Wellington becoming a living wage city – Paul said although the city council was living wage accredited, there were still venue workers, security guards, people working in cafes and university cleaners and tutors on minimum wage. She said the council could be doing a lot more to encourage and influence.
• Recycling - In the Lambton Ward there are 2000 properties blacklisted from recycling, that are predominantly student houses. She said that issue needed more conversation as there was unnecessary waste every week. Paul said this was a practical way to tackle environmental issues.
• Connecting communities – Paul said there needed to be more empowering and connecting communities. She wants to create more initiatives, connect people with their neighbours and meet with neighbourhood organisations. She said community resilience would matter with the problems facing Wellington, like earthquakes and rising sea levels.