Meet the next generation of elected leaders in the Wellington region

ActionStation are profiling inspiring young independent candidates who are standing in local elections around NZ.

8 min readSep 24, 2019
A colourful collage of seven young people in different outdoor settings
Young independent candidates standing for local councils in 2019

For the 2019 local council elections, we are profiling and promoting young (under 40 years old) independent candidates who agree with the vision and values outlined in our community’s crowdsourced vision Te Ira Tāngata and have demonstrated a commitment to climate solutions and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We asked candidates in an online questionnaire if they agree with our community’s vision and to tell us how they will work towards it. We’ve only included the people who responded so this is not an exhaustive list and some young independent candidates may be missing. Please email if you think there is someone we should add!

The following candidates are standing in the Wellington region.

Rabeea Inayatullah

21, Porirua City Council, Northern Ward

Rabeea smiling to camera in front of a wet land area, houses in the background.

I’ll work towards [the shared vision of Te Ira Tāngata by] placing tangata whenua and mana whenua at the forefront of decision making such as when facing impacts of climate change and land. Ensuring that there is equal opportunity for people with all different types of background, upbringing and demographic. Equal representation for all ages, race, sexuality and gender. Being transparent, accountable, having a teachable and coachable spirit, willingness to learn and taking ownership and responsibility for what you say or do.

Caring for our planet because we only have one for us all.

Are you based in Porirua? Rabeea is looking for volunteers to help leafletting and door knocking in the weekends.

Check out Rabeea’s Facebook page here.

Tamatha Paul

22, Wellington City Council, Pukehīnau — Lambton Ward

Tamatha smiling looking to camera at a spot on Wellington harbour, Te Papa museum behind her

I stand for connected communities, who are the life force of our city. I stand for a sustainable Wellington, where we give back more than we take from our environment.

I stand for hardworking, everyday people who are the glue of our sprawling public and private sectors, and deserve a wage that they can live on. I stand for a capital city where everybody can find a home that they can afford, and a bus that they can catch.

I stand with my community — young and old, students and workers, from all walks of life.

E tū Pōneke, it’s time for future-facing leadership on Wellington City Council.

Check out Tamatha’s Facebook page here.

Sophie Handford

18, Kāpiti‎ Coast District Council, Paekākāriki — Raumati Ward

Sophie at the front of a climate strike march with lots of people in orange vests, holding a megaphone

When I was 12, I really vividly remember my Mum and Dad getting a letter in the mail from Kāpiti City District Council. They sat at the table looking rather concerned over what was written and I had to find out why. The message alerted us to the fact that the sea could seep into our home in the coming decades. I was extremely confused about why this would be and what I could do to stop it!

We got talking about sea level rise and climate change. I felt scared and a sense of fear around what my generations future might look like, bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, not being able to find a job, a warm and dry house to live in and feeling isolated from the rest of the community.

This is some peoples reality in our community now.

I am not willing to sit on my hands and will never be. There are people in our community who are struggling, who aren’t being supported by the status quo.

This is our home and together, we should have the opportunity to create the way it feels to live here. We must continue to build a loving community where rangatahi, our planet and all people are central to decision making.

Check out Sophie’s Facebook here.

Asher Wilson-Goldman

34, Kāpiti‎ Coast District Council

Asher, in a smart jacket suit smiling to camera, standing on the beach with Kāpiti island behind.

I work regularly across the country with councils and community groups, so I know the most successful councils are those embedded in and supportive of their communities. Councils that think they have to control everything themselves tend to produce the worst outcomes.

I’m committed to being part of a council that genuinely engages with all of our residents, not one that only listens to the usual suspects.

I know that if we do that, we’ll be putting ourselves in the strongest position to face the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that are coming our way.

Disclosure: Asher is a member of the Green party, running as an independent.

Check out Ash’s Facebook page here.

Victoria Rhodes-Carlin

21, Greater Wellington Regional Council

Victoria is standing outside a house, garden behind her looking at camera. Her tshirt says ‘Honour Te Tiriti’.

My core campaign policies are fair and accessible public transport, ambitious climate action and community-driven decision-making.

All council decisions should be centered in a climate justice framework and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, striving for equitable outcomes for all.

My background in civics education and rangatahi development motivates me to make our local government more accessible and inclusive. Community-driven decision-making should be at the heart of our local democracy.

I want to ensure every Wellingtonian knows about and understands what the GWRC does, and most importantly, know how to participate in decision-making processes. An inclusive democracy needs to ensure it’s decision-making processes are accessible, engages with diverse groups, and builds leadership capacity in communities.

By putting well-being our of our people and environment first, decisions can move beyond measures of GDP and cost-effectiveness, towards a more equitable and thriving region for all.

Check out Victoria’s Facebook page here.

Karen (Kaz) Yung

30, Petone Community Board and Hutt City Council

Karen, eyes closed, with a kākā sitting on her shoulder pecking her hair

I hope that as a younger, female of Chinese descent, walking in different areas that many political figures don’t walk (rent, rely on public transport, work in retail and hospitality) I can couple that with my social justice and environmental passions, governance experience and community skills to bring a perspective that doesn’t normally sit around the table, advocate for our people and continue to ask the challenging questions of what is missing, and who do we need to go out, connect and meet with.

I hope that our local government spaces can become more accessible, transparent and welcoming, especially for those currently most disconnected and that we truly engage in ways to take out the barriers that prevent people from being able to engage fully in having their own voice.

Engaging and taking leadership in issues such as housing and homelessness, well-being, our natural environment and resources, and empowering our people, especially the most vulnerable to be actively engaged and proud of our city.

Check out Kaz’s Facebook page here.

Tesh Kells

20, Hutt City Council

Tesh sitting looking over the back of a park bench, on a sunny day at a park

I’m standing for the community, to involve people within local govt as best as I can — not to push my own agenda. Therefore, working with everyone in the community, and ensuring we involve Mana Whenua and local Iwi, when making all decisions, is something I want our Council to hold as a priority. It is something I want people to hold me accountable for.

It’s hugely important to me to differentiate te Titiri & the Treaty of Waitangi (which most people assume is the key document). Te Tiriti is the one that needs a whole lot more recognition.

Check out Tesh’s Facebook page here.

Grace Lindsay

20, Paraparaumu — Raumati Community Board

Grace smiling to camera against a background of native flax

I will be a strong advocate for young people and the environment especially. I will always put Policy above Politics. I will do what my community wants/needs me to do, and endeavour to represent everyone’s views, not just my own.

While I may not know the answers yet, I will try my best to find them, and always work towards making Aotearoa better for all of us.

I am so excited for this election, and find it so encouraging to see so many young people standing across the country. Our country will be in good hands for years to come, with the amazing leadership coming through, and people who really care about what’s important.

Check out Grace’s Facebook page here.

Want to read more profiles? Check out inspiring young independents running in other areas too:

Want more information before voting?

Generation Zero has produced scorecards that rate candidates based on their policies for climate action and liveable cities:

The Spinoff has a great website with profiles on candidates at this link:

Stuff has candidate profiles based on their climate action policies at this link:

How to vote

Voting is open from 20 September till midday 12 October.

If you’re enrolled you’ll receive your voting papers in the post from 20 September. 📮

If you’re not enrolled, or your papers haven’t arrived, no worries! Just head to your local council office to enrol and vote in person. 🔍 Find details for your council here:

By voting in the local election, and supporting friends or whānau members to join you, we will multiply the impact of our community and elect councillors that will advocate for the ecosystems that sustain life.




Community campaigning organisation bringing people together to act in powerful and coordinated ways to create a fair and flourishing Aotearoa for all.