Local Elections Candidate Interviews: Jason Marinovich - Raglan Community Board


As part of the Morning Show's coverage of the 2022 Local Elections, Aaron will be interviewing candidates standing for positions on the Raglan Community Board as well as the Waikato District and Regional Councils. Below is a transcript of Aaron's interview with Jason Marinovich.

“I know working at BP, there's a lot of people that aren't well-off and are needing some help. I want to see if I can help those people and serve that side of the community that is struggling,” he said.

(Listen to the full interview below:)


Aaron: Can you just introduce yourself a little bit. Tell the listeners a bit about yourself.

Jason Marinovich: Yeah, I'm from West Auckland, I was raised in a very diverse, ethnic, multicultural background. My dad's family is Croatian, my mum is from the Cook Islands and I moved down here in January 2020. I wanted to get out of the crazy that is Auckland and experience more of the natural beauty that is Raglan.

Aaron: Okay. Why did you decide to run for the community board?

Jason Marinovich: I decided to run because I wanted to participate more. I found out I don't really know much about the community and I thought if I stood, I'd learn more about the community. I really love what I've come to find here, that natural beauty really draws a lot of people outside in. But there's also the beauty of the people here as well. I know working at BP, there's a lot of people that aren't well-off and are needing some help. I want to see if I can help those people and serve that side of the community that is struggling.

Aaron: So what are you picking up, working there? Tell us a bit more about that.

Jason Marinovich: Well there's people that are coming in and looking for handouts or for requests to pay later. There's also other parts of the community that are dealing with (well, us as well at BP) the crime that's been going on. When people get desperate, they'll engage in desperate acts. For me having a holistic health background, I'm looking at the mental health of the community. I'd like to see if I can bring more focus to that here as well.

Aaron: How are the crew up at BP? It's a pretty traumatic thing to happen, especially for the team member that it happened to.

Jason Marinovich: She's holding strong. I mean, we're doing well. It's unfortunately becoming part and parcel of working there. Like I said on Sunday, at the Meet the Candidates, I'm seeing more of the cops - more often than I'd like pretty much.

Aaron: You know, it's always a bad sign if you end up on first name terms with the cops. It means something’s gone wrong somewhere?

Jason Marinovich: Linda and them, yeah.

Aaron: You talk about holistic health - you're working at BP but you have a background in holistic health. Tell us a bit more about that. 

Jason Marinovich: That's my show. I have conversations around health that are not really talked about in the mainstream. So talking about energy medicine and movement medicine, massage, just different ways of healing. So with Western medicine there is one avenue, but there's so many other paths to healing. And that's what I like sharing on the show. That's what I'd like to see. In Raglan we have so many healers here or so many facilitators of healing. And to me it's a shame that we don't have that sort of access for those who aren't able to because it's not subsidised - it's not part of the system, should we say. So it would be good to have people to have access to those alternative ways of healing or what I like to call native ways, because these are ways that were taught and practised before Western medicine came along.

Aaron: In terms of going on the community board, I always check with everyone if they're aware that the community board is not a board that actually has direct powers in the sense that it can't make a decision and then it happens. All it can do is advise to the main council. You're familiar with that?

Jason Marinovich: Yeah, I've heard that. I find that very interesting because I mean, I heard there was a Raglan County board or something here before where they did have the power.

Aaron: So back in that eighties or nineties, they completely turned over every district council, borough council, city town council, everything in the country was completely changed and they were amalgamated. So there was a Raglan County Council that went all the way up the coast to Port Waikato. That's in the old days. It's almost random the way they jumbled them together. So that's why we've got Tamahere, Huntly, the north of the district, all these little communities that don't really have anything to do with each other.

Jason Marinovich: But I do understand that it's mostly advisory. To me, it does feel like there should be more power to the people living in the actual community because they know the community more. I'm not sure there's anything we can do to change it, but I do understand it.

Aaron: Well, all the mayoral candidates are talking about delegating more powers to the community board. Exactly how that would happen; no one's outlined a plan yet, but there is discussion about that.

Jason Marinovich: And then we've got these reforms or changes possibly coming in October. So who knows.

Aaron: Well, some big document from the government is going to land and with a big plan. And then in the next year there will be a general election, then maybe that'll completely change as well. So yes, no one really knows. Sometimes there's a bureaucratic sense that things need to change, in which case it doesn't matter whether National or Labour's leading the Government, it kind of happens anyway. Back to local body stuff. What would you like to be doing on the community board? Do you have stuff that you think needs to be done that you want to achieve?

Jason Marinovich: Well, like I said before, I'd like to see more access to other health facilities here in Raglan. I'm not sure how they would work. Would there be some sort of funding, donations? There's so much that we have here in terms of resources that I don't think are being tapped into. So I'd like to see some way of making that more accessible and maybe just more known, even though it's known in the circles of those who are in those sorts of circles. Maybe some education around Raglan about what's available. I know we do have some directories around about all the different types of practitioners. But for those who are, how should we say, below the poverty line or not able to access, certain community boards can go around and just teach people on what's available besides the clinic. What's available besides emergency medicine like there are ways to get better and heal and people just don't know. I dealt with health issues for like my whole life until I was the age of 30. And it wasn't until I started to look into it myself that I realised there are other parts to healing. So just shedding some light on what's available in Raglan. So,education around what's available, I think is a first step.

Aaron: Do you think the community boards a good place to be doing that?

Jason Marinovich: Are you talking about standing on the community board?

Aaron: Yeah, just taking that issue and using the community board as a platform for that.

Jason Marinovich: Yeah, I don't know if people on the board now - I know there's all these other issues with affordable housing and the wastewater and that's great. Hey, we need shelter, we need water. But we also need the people who inhabit this place to be mentally resilient, mentally strong, mentally well, looked after and seen and heard. And I feel that's part of it. There's a lot of people in this community that aren't being seen or heard, and I feel for them, you know, I help people deal with their health and it's mainly because they go to their doctors and they get sort of shunned and say, "Oh no, you're fine." But really they're not. And so I'd like to be on the board so that maybe we can help - I can help the others see people that perhaps aren't being given that light and being shown in the community that there's a group of people here that need to be seen and heard. Can we see and hear them?

Aaron: Okay. Who are that group of people? Are you talking about low income people or?

Jason Marinovich: Yeah, just people who are going to the clinic on a chronic basis and not getting better.

Aaron: Ok so that's chronic health.

Jason Marinovich: People who aren't going to the clinic don't know that there are available resources here in town, don't see any way of paying for it, or if they do find someone here, paying for that massage, paying for that healing. Those are the people I'm talking about and I'm talking about chronic issues here.

Aaron: Because that is I mean, that's kind of the focus of your show. So yeah we should be aware of that. What do you think are the values of this community now that you've been here a couple of years? What's sort of come through for you?

Jason Marinovich: Well, for me, one of my values is nature. You get that here in spades, but there's also family. I see that here in Raglan a lot. Family looking after the land, wanting to take care of nature with Xtreme Waste. You've got Raglan Naturally. So there's that value here around looking after the land and the sea. I see that here a lot. It's also a family like there are people that I see a lot at the gas station downtown and it's just like a little family. But like I say, there are parts of the family that you don't visit all the time. So you don't see them like they're distant cousins. It'd be good for us to have more community events to bring more of the different parts of the community together. But that's what I see. I see caring for nature and caring for each other.

Aaron: What about other people who've been here for a while talking about things are changing, that maybe things are gentrifying? Do you see signs of that already?

Jason Marinovich: I talk about caring for nature, but then when I'm out on my bush walk or beach walks, I see rubbish and stuff just lying around. That I'm seeing a lot more. So last year I didn't see any. This year I'm seeing a lot more. For some reason, last year, I didn't hear much about what was going on in terms of the criminal activities in town. But being at the BP this year, we got broken in twice, had an armed robbery, so I'm seeing a shift, but I'm thinking that's part of bigger systems in play where people are getting desperate. In terms of town, I don't know. Those are the main things I'm seeing. Just a lot more rubbish lying around.

Aaron: I think there's a lot of expression of stress at the moment. That's something I've been talking about on this show quite a bit and one of my guests earlier in the week, she'd been thinking that there's signs that people are grieving - and grieving comes from a loss, not just a loss of a loved one or something. That's the most obvious thing, but a loss of anything, a loss of a dream, loss of a job or, all that kind of stuff. Do you sort of feel like that kind of hits the spot a bit - grieving?

Jason Marinovich: Yeah that makes sense. Before I moved to Raglan, I was working part time running a contract, driving business in Auckland, driving one of the shuttles, and then COVID-19 came along. So I lost that. I was stressed, I was grieving. So part of that getting over the grief was to move and make the changes as well. That's why I came to Raglan. I know a lot of people are grieving a loss of many parts of their lives over the last two and a half years and that could be part of it. That's probably a major thing. Like when it comes to holistic health, you want to get to the root cause, and the root cause of all health is stress. The thing is, where is that stress coming from?

Jason Marinovich: So that's why I focus on the mental aspects. So even if there are physical stresses that you have aches and pains, it's how you perceive those stresses and pain that will decide whether it becomes a really difficult thing to overcome or something you can simply work through. So you can get people mentally strong and resilient, and to see their life as not going down all the time, but seeing some sort of positive. When I was going through my depression, everything was dark and black. I couldn't even see any way through it. Maybe we can help people see that there is another way through.

Aaron: It's almost like the actual tough stuff is over. The fears about contracting COVID are mostly gone because most people have had it. The fears about lockdowns and all the things that were dividing us are kind of - technically they're in the past. But now it's like we've almost got the space for people to actually feel the feelings that they put aside during the time.

Jason Marinovich: When you're stressed, it's hard to actually emote and express those feelings in the moment - so it's a delayed response.  We need to create that space in the community and allow people to express that. We've all been going through something that's quite divisive and I think it's time for us to come together and just let the past be the past and just move forward.

Aaron: So we've talked a lot about the holistic health angle and you talked a lot about it at the Meet the Candidates, and you kind of stood out as being someone talking about something different. Does that either worry you that you sounded different or do you think that was good, that you sounded different?

Jason Marinovich: Well, I talked to some people afterwards. There was this one old guy who liked what I said. So it depends. I guess some people will resonate, some will go, "Oh, they're a bloody hippy." But you know, it just depends. But that's what I'm standing for. I am standing for the side of Raglan that is like Raglan's shadow. Every individual has a shadow and it's a part of ourselves that we don't really like to look at. So I guess I'm looking at Raglan, going: "Where are the parts that we aren't really focusing on? Should we focus more on that?" So we look into those parts of our community and by doing so, build them up and make them stronger because we're only as strong and as happy and as healthy as our weakest, as our sickest. So how about lifting others up?

Aaron: So how do you define that part of the community?

Jason Marinovich: People are taught from a young age what their level of success will be in life. A lot of people are taught that you'll never succeed, you'll never amount to anything. You're not worthy. So you get people going into the criminal element. You get people who are not able to sustain jobs or relationships because of their background. 

How do you define those people? It's people who I feel are just on the edges of our community. How do you find that or how do you define that? I guess it's people that you don't really see a lot. It's people that you aren't engaged in a relationship with. There's so many people coming through BP that I don't see much in town. So many are coming through BP that I don't see much in the bush or on the beach. Our community is huge and diverse and that's perfect. That's beautiful. I guess I really have this view of us being a one loving community. And I'm not saying it's easy. I'm not saying it's possible. I'm just saying that my vision is to have us come together as a family. There's going to be members of the family that we don't like or appreciate, but I'd like to see us all come together moving forward toward a vision, like you said. What are the values? Looking after this land, looking after the seas, looking after each other. That's what I'm standing for.

Aaron: Something you did say, I think at the Meet the Candidates, when you're talking about bringing the mana back, do you want to explain that a bit more? All I can remember is that phrase.

Jason Marinovich: Mana is your inner authority, your strength. 

Aaron: I think it was in relation to Whāingaroa.

Jason Marinovich: There's mana of the land, but that's determined along with the mana of the people. I think I spoke about fear as well. So fear comes from a lot of ignorance and not knowing what's going on and the chaos and unknown and like what's happening - which we just spoke about - and if we can move through a lot of that darkness and chaos.  What if we move more into a place of curiosity and understanding and compassion and love? That's where mana stands really strong. It stands on a foundation of love and knowing and compassion. I'd like to see more of that within the community. I'm working on that on myself as well; learning to love who I am, love the journey of my own life, love the people that I'm in a relationship with and love this community. I do my best every day to love the bush and the beach, where I walk and look out for things that I can pick up and stuff like that. So that's what I mean by moving away from fear to a space of love and being stronger individually and together as a community.

Aaron: So the implication of the statement is that mana has been lost, that something's gone wrong. Is that a recent thing?

Jason Marinovich: Yeah. I mean, we could talk about COVID and the fear around that. Fear is a natural thing. It's nothing to be ashamed about. We all have times of being afraid. But it's not about being afraid, it's about facing that fear and doing it anyway. So there's no getting away from the risks of being alive and being human. I think if we can get more curious about what our fears are all about and look past those fears and learn more about what it is that's causing our fears. I mean, we all have different fears. We all see the world differently, and it's our own fears. 

I guess what I'm saying is there are people that I've experienced who are pushing their fear on others - and I've experienced that myself - where people have pushed their fear on me. And that's fine, I understand that you're afraid, but know that I'm here for you. If you want to talk about it, that's fine. But we can get away from pushing and blaming and finding fault with others when really the fear is coming from within. We can talk to each other about it. Let's try and find some common ground. “Hey, we're all afraid. Can we share what our fears are?”

Aaron: I guess we've had people who are afraid of the virus. Then there's people who are afraid of the government. Then the people who are afraid of the virus become afraid of the people who are afraid of the government. Because how are they reacting? Are we ready to put all that behind now? The mandates are gone, the traffic light system is gone. Well, the mandates are mostly gone, except for a few key areas. Are we ready to put that behind us?

Jason Marinovich: Well, even in the middle of it, it is possible to move through your fear. A lot of people say love is the opposite of fear. To me, it's curiosity. When you get curious about fear, you're no longer facing away, but you're looking directly at it. And we've had a phase of our lives in the past two and a half years of looking away and being told the big bad thing is going to come and do some damage. But what if we all looked at it together and we came together and helped each other and helped each other with our different choices? I think we'd see a different outlook in the community. And I'm only focused on this community here because this is the community that I'm a part of. Even in the midst of it, it would be possible to manage it and deal with it. But it only works if we do it together. I think that's what's happened is there has been that divide. There are all these different sides. I think we're all adults and we should be able to bring some nuance into the conversation. Mainly it's about listening. There were a lot of questions on Sunday at the Meet the Candidates, and to me they could all have been answered one way. It's like, get clear on what the community wants and have the council listen. And I think that works within the community as well.

Aaron: Easy if you say it like that, but it seems to be a challenge.

Jason Marinovich: And that's the challenge.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jason Marinovich: The actions that need to be taken are easy. It's just, "Are people going to act on those? Are the council going to listen, each of us as an individual in this community, are we going to listen to each other?" I guess.

Aaron: You've talked about meeting a side of the community that isn't terribly visible. Have you been trying to convince them to vote? Do you think they'll vote? They're probably, by your description, the last people who would vote.

Jason Marinovich: Yeah I mean, I tell people to go online to vote.co.nz. But I don't know if they would. Probably not. And there's a lot of people who pretty much can't vote, but they just don't think voting counts, it's a shame.

Aaron: Well, you're in your early thirties. So when I was middle-early-twenties, no, I'm guessing here but when I was about your age - whatever I perceive your age to be [laughs] - I wasn't that interested.

Jason Marinovich: No, no. Same here.

Aaron: I wasn't interested in local body politics. I guess because I'd moved around a lot, I'd been through uni and trying to find jobs and you know, you're all over the place.

Jason Marinovich: You're living your life not realising there's all these systems that you're actually part of.

Aaron: And I wasn't tied to any one place, once I settled down here, then I started to become interested. Where am I going with this? I guess there's a younger age group who we could understand why they're not interested. I can understand why some people aren't interested.

Jason Marinovich: Most people aren't interested until something happens that affects them directly and then they become extremely interested.

Aaron: Yeah, right. Do you feel like that's how your life has gone?

Jason Marinovich: No. I mean, like I said, I just love this place and I just want to see if my voice of being more of a holistic perspective could bring something different to the table.

Aaron: Okay. When you said you're in South Auckland, were you paying much attention to the local body politics there? Because it's a very different environment. It's a big city.

Jason Marinovich: I'm from West Auckland, I've got a lot of family in South Auckland. All you see are the big billboards everywhere. All those things standing up during election time. It's disgusting really, but it's hard to get away from it there. But still people don't do it because that's Auckland and that's Aucklanders for you.

Aaron: Yeah. So the voting was based on billboards really.

Jason Marinovich: Basically, yeah. There was a question on Sunday about whether we should lower the voting age to 16, and I said no, but I wanted to say that it depends.

Aaron: Oh, that was a yes or no answer [scenraio].

Jason Marinovich: Yeah. I wanted to say, well, it depends. I don't think anyone should vote unless they are aware of who they're voting for, what they're voting for regardless of their age - that's my opinion. Well, I don't care how old you are but "Do you know what this means? Do you know the consequences of this vote?"

Aaron: You were also talking about sovereignty? I can't remember, I was trying to do the sound as well so I wasn't concentrating.  But you were talking about sovereignty?

Jason Marinovich: Well, that's part of mana, just someone's personal inner strength and ability to choose where their life goes. If we want to choose where the life of this community goes, we all have to be strong within ourselves. That's all I was saying. If we are strong individually, we will be mentally strong, emotionally strong, physically strong as a community. There's no way that anyone from any outside force can come and topple us.

Aaron: I kind of started getting into the vision for the future of the community, but we didn't really go into it very deep. You're talking a lot about the community, the state of the people and the relationships and that kind of thing. But a lot of people want to know: What do you think about the roads? Where should the roads go, the potholes and all that kind of practical stuff that people are worried about? The parking. How do you incorporate all that side of it into what you're talking about?

Jason Marinovich: It comes down to; when you are in a good space and a safe space, when you are strong within yourself individually, you'll have a clear idea of where you want to go. So if there's all these ideas around roading and stuff like that - housing - I guess it's whoever's making the decisions or creating input, are they clear in who they are and where they want to go? So this is why I'm a root-cause thinker. Is the community clear on its goals? Is the community clear on where we want to go? Are those people making those decisions clear on where they want to go?

Aaron: I think the answer to all of those is no.

Jason Marinovich: Yeah. So there's going to be some people who will lose out on what they want and some people will get their way. But at the end of the day, a decision has to be made and you really won't know what the consequences are until you've acted that out. And unfortunately, that's the way life works. You can make all the choices in your head you want, but it's the consequences that will determine whether it was the right or the wrong decision. But I'm coming from the space of "Can you make us strong individually?" Which would make us clear on what we want, and as a community, if we get a lot of clear minded folks together, it will be a lot easier and simpler to decide what needs to be done, when and where- because we're not fighting with ourselves internally. It becomes so clear what the right thing to do is that it doesn't make sense to do it any other way. I'm talking about healing a whole community here, so it's not easy. It's not going to happen overnight. But I think if any place is going to do it, it's Raglan.

Aaron: What do you do until people are healed, though? Because I can imagine people asking that question.

Jason Marinovich: You'll never heal. It's a journey. It starts yesterday, it starts today, it keeps going; just constantly healing. We've got food, we've got local produce, we've got nature. We've got everything we need here. We've got the relationships with each other and are looking out for each other. I think we've got the resources. Unfortunately, money is one of those resources that a town like us doesn't have and we need those people over the hill. Well, I don't know if we need them, but...

Aaron: They're the ones making the decisions about spending the money here.

Jason Marinovich: That's the thing. That's where I'm kind of confused is how do we make this work with people over there getting to say yes or no. But I guess if we're strong enough within ourselves, we'll find a way. 

Aaron: I go to most of the community board meetings just to report on it and keep up with what's going on. Every now and again a group of people will come and I would describe their behaviour as abusive towards council staff and community board members. And I just think that ties in to what you've just been talking about. How would you like to handle a situation like that?

Jason Marinovich: Is that because they're not getting their way or?

Aaron: They're angry about something and I just don't think anyone should behave like that anywhere. But people feel like that's what they need to do.

Jason Marinovich: To me, I want to understand those people. Why are you acting this way in that moment and the meeting? Let's not do that. After the meeting's over, let's talk. Let's talk privately. Like what's going on? Where is this coming from? Where is this outburst coming from? Again, it's communication. It's listening. It's a lot of listening, really. It's hearing those people that you don't want to hear talk. That's the most difficult thing if you want to make the world a better place. In my opinion, it's about listening to those people whose voices really irritate you because there's something there. There's something. There's some kernel of truth, right? There's a kernel of truth within you that is triggering me, but there's a kernel of truth with them to say, "Hey, man, I'm hurt because only a hurt person would have that sort of response."

Aaron: I'm not laughing at the idea, I'm laughing because I'm picking up on exactly what you're saying.

Jason Marinovich: I mean, same thing for me, you know, like these people. I just want to, "No. Talk to the hand," but "Hey, okay, I'll listen. I'm going to show you some compassion, because there's something here that I guess I need to hear and listen to." And if this person is in my community, even more so. 

We get a lot of people coming to Raglan on the weekend. It's great to see different people come in and different perspectives on life. But then there's people within the community that we don't even listen to and that perhaps I should myself have realised that I need to make an effort to reach out more and have good conversations with.

Aaron: Hey, folks, we've been talking to Jason Marinovich, running for community board as one of the candidates there. It's time to wrap up. Do you have a last little sentence about why people should vote for you? A simple statement or something? I ask everyone this question.

Jason Marinovich: Why should you vote for me?

Aaron: Yeah. Why should people vote for you? People in our culture aren't very good at coming out and just stating that. But I'm asking everyone to do it.

Jason Marinovich: If you don't know who to vote for, vote for me [laughs]. Again, I bring a holistic perspective. So if you'd like to see that on the board, vote for me.

If you're an enrolled voter in the Waikato district, you'll get a voting information pack in the mail from Friday 16 September 2022.You will have until 12 noon on Saturday 8 October 2022 to vote. If you are sending your vote via post, please ensure that you have allowed enough time for your vote to be received by the due date. You. can also drop off your vote to:

Raglan office and library

7 Bow Street, Raglan 3225

Phone: 07 825 8929

Opening hours: Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm, Saturday 9.30am - 12.30pm