Young political geeks gear up for election parties

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With just one day to go, political geeks across the country are gearing up to host election parties.

Josiah Tualamali'i, Riki Welsh and Selwyn Gamble have been been  encouraging young people, Pasifika and Māori to vote.
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Josiah Tualamali’i, Riki Welsh and Selwyn Gamble have been encouraging young people, Pasifika and Māori to vote. Photo: RNZ / Eleisha Foon

Some young adults in Christchurch and Wellington spoke about their plans in the lead up to the event.

Organising a whānau and friend gathering for the occasion is Josiah Tualamali’i, Riki Welsh and Selwyn Gamble.

They are are a mix of University of Canterbury students and graduates living in Ilam, planning on hosting an election watch party.

They have been putting in a lot of effort to raise awareness and encourage the young and Pacific and Māori vote.

Selwyn and Josiah are part of a group called PYLAT – Pacific Youth Leadership And Transformation.

Their key focus is elevating the voice of Maōri and Pacific people and advocating to increase the youth and Pacific voter turn out.

Josiah hoped the gathering on election night would create meaningful conversations and help break down the rigidity of politics.

“For lots of people, particularly for Māori and Pacific, if we haven’t had the opportunity to practice [voting] before or culturally make decisions, it’s kind of strange to then have to make these decisions when culturally we haven’t before.”

Flat mate Riki Welsh said there will be plenty of kai, whānau and friends.

The boys have also been using their talents to create jingles on the topic of voting and will be playing some live music on the night.

It’s also film student Selwyn Gamble’s first time at the polling booths on Saturday, where he will be casting his vote alongside his flat mates and family.

“It’s my first time which is a pretty big deal. I was just too young during the last election and missed out.”

He hoped to spark a love for the democratic process around voting in his younger siblings, so come next election, they would be enthusiastic about their first time voting too.

“We have two TV’s but will also be listening to RNZ for our election coverage,” they said.

Meanwhile in the politically engaged bubble of Wellington, Victoria university student Michael Fitzpatrick-Cockram is also hosting an election party on Saturday night.

He would be hosting a small party with some of his mates who also happen to be political junkies.

But he admits he can’t afford too much of a rowdy evening.

“It’s a nice excuse to be social, have a break from university stress. There will be drinking games but I can’t really afford a hang over – exams are next week. It will be a relaxed night, few friends – we are all big fans of a cheese platter and we all are interested in politics.”

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