NZNO organiser Georgia Choveaux met New Zealand’s oldest woman and retired Karitane Nurse Peg Griffin at Kapiti Rest Home on the day residents voted in the 2014 General Election.
“Last week I was lucky enough to celebrate voting with New Zealand’s oldest person, 110 year old Peg Griffin. I arrived at the rest home with chocolate cake and balloons and left with a much deeper appreciation of the value of my vote.
Peg and her fellow residents have shaped our communities and our country in part because of their vote at each election. The New Zealand we live in today was decided by how people voted yesterday, and Peg knows it.
93 year old Kathleen, (another retired nurse) explained to me why she always voted. She grew up in tough times in mining communities on the West Coast. So she always casts her vote to help people. She has always voted for increased support for those in need, she has witnessed too much hardship over the decades.
98 year old Aida explains that she has always voted and knows it’s a privilege. She doesn’t miss voting because she doesn’t want to miss having her say on how things should be. And don’t get her started on those that grizzle but don’t vote!
Another gentleman told me about when his paper-run was all his family had to survive on. It was during the Waterfront Lockout, and legislation had been passed to make it illegal for anyone to help the locked out workers during the bitter dispute.
So every election he marches to the polling booth and hell would have to freeze over before he didn’t vote.
So after Peg voted, for the same party which has had her support across two centuries and two world wars, she cuts the cake to celebrate the value of our vote.
Each of us have a valuable vote, so let’s join Peg, Kathleen, Aida and others in celebrating that – by using it this election. Let’s continue to shape our communities and our country.