Far North mayor Moko Tepania is set to receive an accolade on Wednesday, declaring him as one of 2023’s top young politicians globally.
Last year, Tepania made headlines by becoming the youngest and the first Māori mayor of the Far North District. Currently, he is attending the One Young World summit in Northern Ireland.
The award by One Young World honours five exemplary leaders aged between 18-35. It aims to celebrate their positive influence on the youth and their efforts to promote youth participation in politics.
Tepania, applauded by judges for utilising his teaching background and mayoral position to bolster youth engagement in politics, expressed immense gratitude for his nomination. He mentioned that making it to the top 15 and ultimately becoming one of the five winners felt surreal. He also expressed hope that this recognition would motivate young leaders in Northland to persist in their efforts.
Kelly Stratford, the Deputy Mayor, extended her pride and admiration for Tepania, highlighting his unwavering commitment to youth education and employment. She noted, “He encourages young people, telling them, ‘You can be the next mayor’. This award is a testament to his dedication.”
Recently, Tepania, a 33-year-old te reo teacher based in Kaikohe, completed a Master of Education degree with First Class Honours. His research focused on incorporating the Māori lunar calendar, Maramataka, in education. Tepania’s commitment to his community and passion for education traces back to his role as a councillor in 2019, where he served one term before vying for the mayoralty.
Raised in Hikurangi, Tepania pursued teaching, Māori, and anthropology studies at Waikato University. He then taught at Pompallier College in Whangārei before relocating to the Far North.
The other commendable winners of the Politician of the Year award come from Canada, Australia, Belgium, and Nepal.