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Starting young in push for council

Carys Gibbs celebrated her birthday by announcing her run for Masterton District Council. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

Environmental issues drive candidacy

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Carys Gibbs celebrated her 18th birthday on Tuesday and couldn’t wait even one day to officially get her local body election campaign under way.

She is running for Masterton District Council – one of the youngest in the country ever to do so.

The Year 13 student from St Matthew’s Collegiate is a climate change activist and wants to see age diversity on the council.

“Youth aren’t represented at the council, which I think is a problem,” she said.

After finishing school, she is looking to study Environmental or Global studies at Canterbury University or through correspondence at Massey University.

She says people may question her age and skills to be on the council, but she says as a young person her unique perspective will be an asset.

“They might think that I am not knowledgeable, which to an extent I’m not, but I have a fresh perspective because I don’t know everything about how it all has been done before.”

Gibbs is the founder of Wairarapa Schools Fighting Climate Change and also led the school climate change strikes in Wairarapa.

She said climate change “is a big one for me” and wants to see a reduction in carbon emissions in Wairarapa.

She is disappointed the council has not produced a climate change action plan.

“There are some beautiful places in Wairarapa, and it would be a shame to see them degraded because they weren’t used sustainably.

“I think there are small things we could or should be doing locally to ensure a sustainable future.”

Although Gibbs lives in Eketahuna, she said it would be strange to run for Tararua District Council as she does not feel connected with the region.

“Masterton is where I have grown up, it is where I go to school, and where I work.”

Friends who know Gibbs is running find it strange that she is willing to commit to staying in the region for three years.

She wants this to change and see the council look into what is going to draw young people to Masterton.

She is wanting more thought to be put towards a more sustainable future for Masterton and questions why plastic isn’t going into our roading, as has been trialled in Taranaki.

“It makes sense financially because as a resource we have a lot of it, and we need to get rid of it.

“We need to be innovative about what we are actively doing”.

“Environmental solutions may cost more initially but they will save money as well as the environment in the future.”

She said water was also a huge issue in the region.

Carys is not only passionate about climate change but also advocating for family violence support and youth mental health.

“Don’t underestimate the power of youth and the power of making small changes.”


  1. Thank you for taking on this new challenge. I wish you every success, Carys, and look forard to hearing of your election to council.

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