Maori flock to electoral rolls   2 Aug 2005

By Errol Kiong, New Zealand Herald

The number of Maori enrolled to vote has gone up by nearly 7 per cent in the general and Maori rolls.

The Electoral Enrolment Centre attributes the rise to the coming-of-age of many young Maori and an effective campaign to get them signed up.

By July 31, 200,110 were enrolled on the Maori roll and 163,735 voters who identified themselves as being of Maori descent had signed up on the general roll. The total of 363,845 already outstrips the tally of 341,078 on writ day in 2002.

The enrolment centre’s national manager, Murray Wicks, said there could be many more on the general roll who had chosen not to identify themselves as being of Maori descent.

Wicks expects a surge in enrolment as election day looms closer.

During the 2001 Census, three out of every eight people in the Maori population were under 15. Wicks said some would have now reached voting age and the enrolment drive had been successful in recruiting this group.

Text message enrolment introduced this year had been popular, and face-to-face enrolment drives in places such as marae and Maori work schemes had also been effective.

The message to enrol had been widely advertised on Maori TV, print media such as Mana News, youth radio stations and all 21 iwi radio stations.

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