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Candidate says she was racially abused

Candidate says she was racially abused
Shfire Sapphire proudly wears a moko, but says that because of it she was subjected to racial abuse during the recent local body election campaign where she had the highest declared expenses.

Sapphire left with ‘sour taste in her mouth’

Shfire Sapphire has a “sour taste in her mouth” about Ashburton after receiving a barrage of racist comments during the local body election campaign.
Sapphire (Whakatōhea) is originally from Opotiki and proudly wears a moko based on her great-grandmother’s moko, but said because of it she was subjected to racial abuse during the campaign.
“I had people saying ‘get that scribble off your face’,” Sapphire said.
“Every day I had to delete comments about my moko and being part-Maori.
“I’m left with a sour taste in my mouth as I’ve never received such racist comments in all my life.
“I’m not going to let it get me down or drag me down, I just carry on.”
She also said it was appalling that at the meet-the-candidates’ event, some candidates had spoken about having te reo being forced down their throats.
“These people are meant to represent the community, I am part of the community and other Maori are part of that community so do they not want to represent us?”
Despite the racist abuse, she intends to stand for council again in the future.
“Nothing scares me off, I’ll go for council over and over and over again wherever I will be living at the time.”

Shfire Sapphire’s moko is based on her great-grandmother’s.

Sapphire spent the most on the election campaign out of all the candidates, declaring expenses totalling $7195 on her unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Ashburton District Council and the Braided Rivers Community Trust.
Sapphire, along with all the other candidates, had no donations to declare.
Despite having the highest campaign spend, Sapphire ended up with the fewest number of votes, 483, in the Ashburton Ward behind Janet Glassey who pulled out of the election a month before the voting closed.
For the Braided Rivers Community Trust Sapphire was also the lowest-polling candidate.
In comparison, first-term councillor Phill Hooper declared he didn’t spend a dollar on his campaign and received 4259 votes to rank fourth in the Ashburton Ward.
The top polling candidate in the Ashburton Ward was Carolyn Cameron with 4610 votes and she declared $3865.87 of expenses.
Cameron was followed by Leen Braam who spent $787.75 and the third highest polling candidate was Tony Todd who spent $1568.03.
Russell Ellis was successfully re-elected after missing the previous term and declared expenses of $4028.75.
Incumbent Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown spent $787.75, all on print advertising, on his successful re-election campaign.
For his mayoral bid, Jeff Swindley spent $2218.11, with $1200 on bookings at the St Andrew’s Church for his job interview sessions.
Brown comfortably won the mayoral race, receiving 10,136 votes to Swindley’s 1309.

Candidate expenses

Shfire Sapphire    $7195
Russell Ellis          $4028.75
Carolyn Cameron $3865.87
Richard Wilson     $3359.61
Jeff Swindley         $2218.11
Lynda Topp            $1776.90
Lynette Lovett        $1656.11
Tony Todd               $1568.03
Bev Skates               $1547.92
Liz McMillan           $1359.15
Thelma Bell               $832.56
Leen Braam               $787.75
Neil Brown                $787.75
Brie Burgess              $732.75
Hayden Tasker          $442.75
Carol Johns                $430
Phill Hooper               $0
Rodger Letham, Keith Townshend, Rob Mackle: To be confirmed.

  • Jonathan Leask