Reaching out to the community through Punjabi language billboards

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Field Marshal Walia, candidate for Manurewa local council, has put up his campaign billboards in the Punjabi language.

Arvind Kumar / Stuff

Field Marshal Walia, candidate for Manurewa local council, has put up his campaign billboards in the Punjabi language.

If you have been walking around Manurewa lately, you would have probably noticed a few political billboards in an ethnic language.

And this is probably the first time in the country that a political campaign billboard has been put up in the Punjabi language, says Field Marshal Walia, the man behind it.

Walia, 29, who is running for Manurewa Local Council in the October elections, says the Punjabi-language billboards reflect the diversity of the population in the area.

STUFF / Arvind Kumar

Candidate Marshal Walia aims to bring more diversity to the Manurewa local council in the October elections.

“The Asian population in Manurewa is 25.4%, so it’s fitting that we connect with the community in a way that is easy for them to understand and make their voices heard,” Walia said.

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“Over time I have noticed that the concerns of our community are not being taken into account; there are many local council issues that will make a difference in people’s lives.”

Marshal Walia represents the local council of Manurewa.

Arvind Kumar / Stuff

Marshal Walia represents the local council of Manurewa.

Walia, who stands under the Love Manurewa party, said he believed there was a disconnect between the communities that existed in Manurewa and could contribute to an increase in crime in South Auckland.

“The reason for the Punjabi signage is to make people aware that other communities also live here, and also to bridge the gap between different ethnicities.”

He said there was no population diversity reflected on the current board, and that could be why their concerns were not being addressed.

Walia, Operations Manager, has lived in Manurewa for 12 years since coming to the country from Punjab, India for higher education.

He urged the local community to come out and vote in the elections so that their voices can be heard when issues arise.

“It’s the only way to make a difference,” Walia said.

Voting for local body elections nationwide will open on Friday, September 16 and end at noon on Saturday, October 8.

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