Josh Wharehinga family pic after by election

I ACTUALLY wrote a letter congratulating someone else because I didn’t think I won it. I really didn’t. Any time anyone would ask, I would say: “I think I’m in the top three, I’m confident that I’ll be in the top three.” Which I guess is still true.

Thank you. Thank you is all I really have to say.

Thank you to the other candidates. It was truly an honour getting to know you over this very quick by-election period. I’m proud of our campaigns and the collegiality and respect we maintained despite being opponents. I will always treasure that.

I’d like to thank all the people who put in the mahi behind the scenes. Those who walked the pavement to deliver my postcards, who put up and took down my billboards, who have given me quiet words of encouragement, who donated to my campaign. I am grateful to you all.

I am truly grateful to those who voted for me, for your vote of confidence. I’m absolutely thankful that people got out and voted, even if it wasn’t for me; 31 percent of the eligible voting population got out and voted. In a by-election that is huge! I have it under good authority that election services were astounded at the turnout. Yay us!

I’d love to see Te Tairāwhiti get to a place where at least half of our region is voting. Please remember that there are people in this world who have no voice, no vote.

Our system isn’t perfect, but use your vote to be your voice. Voice who you want to represent you. Vote for them. If you don’t see your ideal person, then encourage your ideal person to stand, or vote for the one who is closest to it.

The point is, you have power in your vote. Use it.

Lastly, and definitely not least, I would like to thank my children. For yelling “Vote Wharehinga!” out of the car windows, for handing out my postcards at the league, for making me wear a red tie for the billboard photoshoot, for being brilliant and supportive. Dad loves you always.

For those who are wishing to come have a few words with me, shake my hand, give me a hug or whatever, I invite you to 630 Childers Road for Te Wananga o Aotearoa’s Matariki celebration on Saturday, July 5 from 12 midday to 6.30pm. Come down and say hello, listen to the Crays, the GBHS choir, Te Whanau Uprising and House of Shem. Challenge me to a round of mini golf. Shout me a sausage sizzle. I’ll be there the entire time. I’d love to see you. 🙂

John F. Kennedy said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

My sincerest form of gratitude will be to live by mine. I am truly humbled by and grateful for your confidence in me Turanga.

Click here to read the Gisborne Herald article.