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1 February 2019
Having completed a year-long local government mayoral leadership programme, Cale Borell is even more determined to one day become a force within New Zealand politics.
Cale, 20, from Pirirakau hapū in Te Puna, put his university training on hold last year and was selected for the Local Government New Zealand 2018 Tuia Te Here Tangata leadership development programme.
The programme develops leadership in young Māori across all communities and part of its curriculum is one-on-one mentoring by local government political leaders.
During the year Cale has had monthly mentoring sessions with Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber and has attended a series of wananga throughout New Zealand at which he has made lifelong connections with young people.
"We are all whanau now and I know I can go anywhere in New Zealand and have a place to stay," says Cale.
Cale began the programme with an eye to a future career in government.  That desire is undiminished – and if anything is stronger. It's just a matter of time, he says – but sometime in the future he wants to be in a position of leadership to make a difference to New Zealand society.
Cale says the programme has been personally rewarding and he has enjoyed the many leadership challenges it presented. He will be encouraging other young Māori to apply.
"The Tuia programme is not year-long – it is lifelong,'' says Cale.
Mayor Webber and Council's Maori Relationships Advisor Chris Nepia attended Cale's Tuia Te Here Tangata graduation at Bastion Point, Auckland, in December last year.
Mayor Garry has watched Cale progress through the year from uncertainty to having a clear direction.
"When Cale joined the programme he was a little uncertain as to the path he should travel. But now that he is involved in community work and with the learnings from the programme, he has decided to resume his university studies.
"With support from whanau, friends and the community, coupled with his own self-belief and determination, I am sure he will continue to grow as a leader."
This year Cale is returning to Auckland University with renewed vigour to pursue a degree in Law and Commerce – a path he says combines his passion for social fairness and his desire to succeed financially.
While doing the leadership programme this past year, Cale has also been employed in the avocado industry and has been involved in many projects and forums within his marae community at iwi and hapū level.
Cale's whakapapa is across the Tauranga Moana Iwi of Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Hangarau hapū.
He grew up in Te Puna, attended Tauranga Boys' College where he excelled and gained seven scholarships to attend university. He completed his first year in Pharmacy at Auckland University in 2017.
For more information on the programme visit: or contact Chris Nepia at Western Bay of Plenty District Council on 07 571 8008.
Photo: Western Bay Mayoral Mentoring student Cale Borell on his home marae of Paparoa in Te Puna.