Picture if you will, Warkworth as a people-centred space. Wharf Street thronging with people enjoying a book under the shade of a tree, or even a refreshing swim in the Mahurangi River. Spoilt for choice, vibrant bistros and cafes sit where a carpark once was, placemaking architecture seamlessly tying urban design with rich greenery and open spaces.
Kids Voting runs in parallel with the real local body elections and this year the students’ candidate choices were, on the whole, consistent with those of eligible voters from across the region.
The young candidates including Tessa Berger and Caitlin Watson were particular favourites with students; each received the highest number of kids’ votes in their respective local boards.
Northern started their National Women’s League title defense against Central with a positive 3 – 0 result on Sunday. Central started the match strongly applying pressure to an experienced Northern backline featuring Women’s Knockout Cup hero Tessa Berger.
Rodney Local Board candidate Tessa Berger's signs have become so popular that she is taking orders from admirers for them, after a number were stolen from their backboards.
All of them have now been reserved to be given to her supporters, and she plans to auction one of them off and give the proceeds to a community organisation.
Rodney Local Board candidate Tessa Berger, 22, is one young person who has put her hand up for election. She said disengagement among young people was a "worldwide trend".
What the tsunami of mainstream media coverage beautifully illustrated is that Tessa Berger is naturally telegenic and a powerful communicator—exactly the qualities necessary if a person is to achieve great things in public office, for the people she represents.
Forrest Hill Milford have won the National Women's Knockout Cup for the first time, beating their Auckland neighbours Glenfield Rovers on penalties on Sunday after the scores were locked 2-2 at the end of extra time.
Forrest Hill's captain Tessa Berger scored their first reply, lobbing Alice Noyer in the Glenfield goal from 35 metres out early in the second half. Berger's equaliser came almost out of nowhere in the 52nd minute, an audacious attempt made after she spotted Noyer off her line, but one that worked nonetheless.
Berger was awarded the Maia Jackman Trophy as the final's most valuable player, and paid tribute to the way her side kept their heads in the game.
"I'm so proud of the girls and glad that they stuck in there, in a game that was emotionally taxing," she said.
"It's as much of a mental game as it is a physical game, trying to last that extra 30 and go into penalties."
As a fierce advocate for youth involvement, Tessa Berger persuaded Mahurangi College to sign up for Kids Voting for the first time, just ahead of the cut-off for this year’s elections. Back where she spent her intermediate years, on Wednesday, Tessa appealed to students to communicate their ideas for their community.
The snowballing of publicity that followed the missing billboards story broken by the Rodney Times, on 4 September, resulted in Tessa Berger receiving a rapturous reception at Mahurangi College on Wednesday, by students signed up for Kids Voting. Tessa had earlier initiated the last-minute enrolment of the college in the programme, as part of her commitment to Rodney having ‘the most Kids-Voting-ly schools’ in the Auckland region, within her first term of office. This is a passion she shares with the current excellent Rodney Local Board chair—Brenda Steele, who holds the youth portfolio.
Tessa Berger’s shoestring campaign has already done more to energise the local-body elections, and Kids Voting, than the costly council Kombi is ever likely to, but that is because it is evidence-based.
For Forrest Hill captain Tessa Berger, Sunday presents the chance to finish the season on the perfect note. Berger herself is only 22, but in women's club football, that almost makes her a veteran, and she said it's important that players such as herself provide leadership that allows the younger ones to flourish.