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Don’t moan if you don’t vote

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Don’t moan if you don’t vote

Pio Terei is encouraging people to get involved in the school trustee elections taking place this month. He has been a trustee for six years and he is proud of the contribution he has made as part of his children’s school board.

“Being on a board is hugely rewarding, and everyone has something they can contribute”, he says. “It is great to feel you have been part of what has taken place to improve your school.”

Over 2,400 state and state integrated schools, across New Zealand are seeking nominations from their communities. They need people with the right skills and experience to step forward. In total, 15,000 people from around New Zealand are needed.

Pio was motivated to stand as a trustee because he was interested in providing support around Maori issues and wanted to bring a different perspective to the board.

For Pio one of the challenges was learning the jargon and understanding the commercial processes involved in running a secondary school. Sometimes just getting through all of the items on the agenda was a challenge. Balanced with this, was the rewarding outcome of seeing the school gymnasium built.

A national advertising campaign is currently underway, aimed at raising awareness of the important role trustees play in our schools. Elaine Hines from the New Zealand School Trustees Association says, “schools across the country will be seeking people from their communities who can ask questions, work as a team, think creatively, or crunch numbers.”

“If you can share your skills you can be a trustee, it could be one of the most rewarding roles you have”, says Ms Hines. Pio agrees, and says that on a personal level he has gained a great deal of satisfaction from the fact that staff at the school have normalised all things Maori and this is now an integral part of the how the school runs, which benefits all the students.

Those considering trusteeship for the first time can contact their local school for more information. Ms Hines encourages people to nominate others they think would make good trustees. “You don’t need to have a child at the school; you just need to care about seeing your local school and its students succeed.”

Ms Hines emphasises, that new trustees are offered on-going professional development and support with learning about their role on the board.

Pio’s advice to those considering standing for election is to take up all the training opportunities and to upskill. He says, “this makes it better for the school, but also better for your kids.”

Ms Hines says “If parents, families and whānau all get involved and take an active part in their school election process, they can take ownership of nominating and electing the right people to make a positive difference for our children.”

Pio agrees and says “we all need to maintain our relationships with our schools, and part of that is voting. Don’t moan about your school if you don’t vote for your board. We need to achieve an ethnic and gender balance on our boards and the way to do that is to exercise your vote.”

Nominations close at noon on 16 May, with voting closing at noon 30 May 2013.

The 2013 School Trustee Elections are New Zealand’s biggest single democratic event and this is the ninth triennial election since self managing schools were introduced in 1989.


Key dates:

Call for nominations By 2 May 2013

Nominations close Noon 16 May 2013

Voting closes Noon 30 May 2013

Results declared 5 June 2013

New board takes office 6 June 2013

ENDS

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