Winners of the Stoke School election Ofa Piukala, Hannah Thepkham Dee, Chase Tauwhare, reverse order Ruby Fox and Cole Creagh. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Stoke gets schooled on election battles


While the world was gripped with the most dramatic election in modern American history last week, a much more civil display of democracy was carried out at Stoke School.

In a bid to engage the students in the world of politics, a school-wide election was held.

There were six parties with nine students holding various ministerial portfolios running for election.

These included Omaio (Māori name for Stoke) Stoke First, Students First, the Teddy Bear Party, All Be Active, and Little Minds and Big Ideas.

On Thursday afternoon the votes were carefully tallied by the student-led electoral commission.

The people have spoken, and this term will see The Teddy Bear Party (TBP) assume power.

In a shrewd move, party member Lucy Colvin says the name was chosen to appeal to the younger demographic.

With the losing parties having conceded, TBP says it is prepared to enter coalition talks now the campaign is over.

The winning party is set to have a sit down with principal Sarah Davies over the coming days to negotiate the implementation of some of its policies.

The parties ran aggressive campaigns with bold promises such as bringing the All Blacks in for training, while some resorted to more underhand tactics in the form of giving free coffee to teachers in exchange for votes.

Room Two teacher Jodie Lancaster says the initiative was modelled off the New Zealand MMP system with the school split into separate electorates.

“They are getting a full understanding of how New Zealand votes.”

Room One teacher Caitlin Ryan says the election has garnered great interest in politics, with one student having told her she wants to be in government when she’s older.

“She has a loud strong voice too so I think she will be well suited to it.”

Jodie and Caitlin say the exercise was all about helping validate the students’ voice.

Ironically, it was politics that was actually able to unite the school in the post-Covid period.

“During level two we had half the school playing on one side and half on the other and it felt a bit disjointed for a while, now they are reconnecting and it has brought the school back together,” says Jodie.