Hi I’m Jacoby Poulain, recently elected Hastings District Councillor (Flaxmere Ward).  Thank you sincerely all who supported me.

Born in Hastings city, raised in Flaxmere, I returned home after being admitted to the bar as a Lawyer to give back where I can to this community I’m passionate about.  I’ve worked for the Maori land Court, the Ministry of Justice and currently serve as a Youth Advocate working specifically with the Council and Police.

As a Councillor, my issues are your issues.  I’ve heard a myriad of issues of which I intend to treat with integrity.  One specific area I’d like to elaborate on, that I hear being figuratively screamed out there and echoed throughout our region whether it be Hastings city, Flaxmere or Havelock North, is that of our young people.

Young people, those aged under 25, make up a huge proportion of Hastings – almost 35%.  Though many are deemed too young to vote, they are no less valid and important citizens that deserve their concerns heard and addressed.  I will speak for our younger generation.

My ultimate vision though is that young people themselves are raised to places of leadership and governance in our community, that way they themselves will be able to directly influence and inform policy and decision-making in order to bring about positive outcomes for their lives and our community.

Young people are change-makers, peace builders, technologically savvy and environmentally concerned.  They are hungry, optimistic visionaries.  Relationship focussed they are natural team players.  They are compassionate, socially alert and willing to learn.  With aptitude they are a force to be reckoned with.  They are our future city leaders.

With such striking and envious qualities, why then are young people not currently prevalent in places of meaningful leadership and governance in our city?  I pose to you that a significant part of that answer lies in the fact that we as society, by constantly and consistently referring to our young people as “future” or “tomorrow’s” leaders, relegate them to realms and places of time that never eventuate.  Tomorrow never comes – think about it.

What we must do is pull our young people into the here and now by affording them opportunities to engage as active partners in community governance. It’s only by experiencing and walking out responsibility that capability manifests and grows.

Are they ready?  Many are.  For those that aren’t, we must raise them to be.   We must lay the foundations deep in our new generation of city leaders by leading, training and equipping them with the necessary capabilities to lead and govern effectively.

I use the illustration of a skyscraper. You know how tall the building is going to be by how deep and strong the foundations are. The higher it’s going to be, the deeper and stronger the foundations must be.   The skyscraper is our city of Hastings.  The foundation is the fusion of our community, with both young and old cemented together.  We’ve got the older generation involvement down pat, we now need to dig deep and get our younger ones cemented into the mix.

Over the next three years you’ll find me out in the community with my figurative spade digging out new opportunities and rightful places for our younger yet capable ones, and with my spatula cementing them in there.  I will speak for them at the council round table, visit schools to inform and inspire, and help support youth initiatives and organisations out there – all to raise the positive profile of young people in governance and leadership.

I’m taking up my spade and spatula…will you do the same?  I’ve never heard of a skyscraper being built by one person.  It’s always a team effort – united we stand, or divided we fall.  Let’s start digging!

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