Ardern ‘ef­fect’ turns into a tsunami

Manukau Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JO MOIR

There was only one word to sum up Satur­day on the cam­paign trail with Jacinda Ardern in South Auck­land - loud.

The Pa­cific Is­land com­mu­nity does noise bet­ter than most and it’s the colour­ful ver­sion - song, dance and prayer.

Ardern kick-started the day at the Otara Mar­kets, which co­in­ci­den­tally be­gan in the 1970s af­ter the local Labour Party set it up as a so­cial ser­vice.

Today they’re a bustling me­trop­o­lis of food, mer­chan­dise, gospel, pol­i­tics and tonnes of flavour.

A group of Labour MPs are at those mar­kets al­most ev­ery Satur­day - think Jenny Salesa and Peeni Henare - but their pres­ence has never gen­er­ated any­thing like the may­hem that de­scended on the place with the ar­rival of their new leader.

Ev­ery­one wants to touch her, get a photo with her, speak to her, ask a ques­tion of her - you name it, they want a piece of it. The mo­ment that set the tone for the day though was when three-yearold Olivia ap­proached Ardern with a huge colour­ful paint­ing she’d drawn for her.

Ardern bent down and ad­mired the paint­ing com­ment­ing, ‘‘I’ll put this on my fridge, that’s where all my spe­cial things go like my paint­ings from my niece’’.

And then the mo­ment came, where Olivia and her em­braced in a hug so tight you would have thought Olivia was her own. Ardern’s in a league of her own when it comes to chil­dren - be­ing a young wo­man who oozes warmth makes her a mag­net for the younger gen­er­a­tion and none of them are afraid to squeeze her as if she was part of the ex­tended fam­ily.

Par­ents vote with their chil­dren in mind and when they see Ardern re­late to their own it’s cam­paign gold. Two weeks ago po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors were ques­tion­ing how long the so­called Jacinda Ef­fect would last. Four weeks out from the elec­tion and the ‘Ef­fect’ has be­come a ‘Tsunami’ and doesn’t show any signs of steer­ing off course.

As if Otara hadn’t been enough of a buzz, Man­gereMP Su’a William Sio seemed to have put a call out to his en­tire elec­torate to de­scend on the Man­gere mar­kets on Satur­day and they an­swered that call, plus some. In­case there was any con­cern Ardern might not please the masses on ar­rival, they had her walk in with box­ing leg­end David Tua - Man­gere’s very own hero. The crowd roared to lines like, ‘‘if you feel like you’re go­ing back­wards it’s be­cause col­lec­tively we are - but it doesn’t have to be that way’’.

Get­ting out of the Man­gere mar­ket al­most re­quired Tua to box his way through - all signs pointed to the fes­tiv­i­ties con­tin­u­ing in South Auck­land long af­ter Ardern had headed back to Mt Al­bert.

With her Dad ar­riv­ing from Niue to team up with Ardern’s mother who is al­ready back in the coun­try, it was her par­ents who were no doubt lin­ing up for their own over­due hug.

JA­SON DORDAY/STUFF

Man­gere turned out in force to see Jacinda Ardern.

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