Named after a Maori chief, Te Haua Taua is a familiar face in the Howick, Pakuranga and Botany areas as he hobnobs with ministers, Members of Parliament, party candidates, supporters and is spotted in photographs sitting next to Prime Minister Bill English.
On the campaign bus with deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett singing the Macarena, the morning after, he travels from Epsom to Mangere and Otara Farmers Markets and then to Papakura, Manukau and Botany. The day ends at the Pakuranga Night Market campaigning with National Party candidate for Pakuranga, Simeon Brown.
For a 16-year-old who doesn’t drive, Te Haua has a lot on his plate.
He’s the secretary for the Manukau East Council of Social Services (MECOSS), an active member of the Pakuranga electorate team, on the youth wing of New Zealand National Party, a member of Red Cross Service Council, a part of Pakuranga Interact and on the Maori Council at Pakuranga College.
Mature beyond his years, Te Haua is now standing as student representative for the Pakuranga College Board of Trustees elections.
All boards of state and state integrated schools with students above Year 9 have an annual trustee election in the September. A returning officer is appointed to manage the election process.
Interestingly, Te Haua is using the knowledge and the experience he’s gained campaigning at the general elections for the school representative elections.
“I have created a campaign team and enjoy students asking me what I could do for the school.
“I love strategic planning, networking and a diversity of ideas. I am passionate about reaching out to students and helping them in whatever way I can.”
The Pakuranga College student says his first brush with politics was at the age of 11 with the Green Party, distributing pamphlets.
“I am keen to contribute to the Board of Trustees of the college from the student’s perspective,” he says.
“Being on the Maori Council and working closely with the deputy principal has been quite a structured and interesting process.”
He says the turning point was when he first attended the Botany by-election debate hosted by Times Newspapers at the Botany library.
“It sparked my interest in politics and ever since I have been closely associated with the community and getting to know more about the local board, party policies and values.”