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He pātai mō Moko Tepania

Updated: Feb 29

A Q&A with Keynote Speaker Mayor Moko Tepania.

Mayor Moko Tepania.

#1. Tell us about what you love most about the Far North?

It's diversity! From people to places - Far Northerners come from all walks of life, no valley, beach or community is the same and I love our unique history, culture and landscapes. 


#2. How has your work in the community influenced your views about the challenges facing the Far North and gambling harm in particular?

The Far North comes first across almost all deficit socio-economic statistics. That doesn't make us a winner though, that means that our people are losing out. I see the struggle that Far Northerners deal with daily - gambling harm exacerbates these struggles for the most vulnerable in our communities.  


#3. How does it feel being the youngest and first-ever Māori mayor of the Far North? Does it bring a sense of pressure to your role?

I definitely feel the responsibility that comes with this role daily. I hope that by being the youngest and first Māori mayor of our district inspires others who may have never considered or participated in positions like this to do so. 


#4. What have you enjoyed about being Mayor so far?

Being able to make a positive difference for our people! Sometimes these are small wins, sometimes they are big, but each step forward is win!


#5. What are some of the challenges you have faced throughout your career?

Local government has a language and system of its own, and navigating this can sometimes leave you feeling like a fish out of water. I'd probably say that the biggest challenges have been in learning the role, and how to be strategic in finding solutions to get ahead! 


#6. What do you think were some of the personal challenges you faced as an educator?

This is probably the same for being an elected member, and that's ensuring that I am able to keep myself safe emotionally and finding the balance between feeling empathy and compassion, but also not allowing myself to be too involved where it affects my ability to work or hold a role. Over my 10 years as an educator, and 4 years as an elected member I've been able to see first hand the good, the bad and the ugly that has an effect on our people. Anyone in these roles has to ensure that they look after themselves so that they can still be efficient and effective in their work. 


#7. If you could have the audience take one thing away from your presentation at the IGC, what would it be? 

It would be to not underestimate the power of partnership!


#8. What are you looking forward to most at the conference?

Whanaungatanga - making connections that will help me serve the people of the Far North better!


#9. If there was a story that showed “why” you do what you do today, what would that story be?

When I first stood for council and had elections board up around town, a 5 year old from our kura came up to me and asked why my picture was all around town. I told her that I was running for council so that we could do better for our community. She said that when she grew up, she wanted to have her picture all around town and do the same! How cool is that! 

Read Mayor Moko Tepania's full keynote bio.

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