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Watch NZH Local Focus: Whangamomona wakes up to new president... and he's nice!

By Sieska Verdonk

While most of the world was watching Washington, the people of Whangamomona in Taranaki were focused on their own Presidential Election.

Whangamomona declared itself a republic back in 1989 after regional council boundaries were redrawn, making it part of Manawatu-Whanganui. To this day, locals reject involvement in the region.

A new President is elected every two years on Republic Day, an event which draws spectators from around the country.

Presidential candidate, Captain Jack Spearow wanted to drain a barrel rather than a swamp. "Why do I want to be president? I want to be president so I can have free rum! What else is there?"

But Mr Spearow wasn't the only one with great reasons for entering the race. Another candidate thought they would be a cat if elected.

"The year before last I read the news and it said that the last president that was here died and that was bad! Yes, very bad. So I thought why not? I want to be a cat, because my name is Lili," said Lili Jiao, presidential candidate.



Meanwhile Ted, an actual cat, thought he was the only cat for the job.

Border controls are set up for the day. You need a 'passport' to get into town much to the bemusement of some travelers.

And even though Jack Spearow tried to rig the election by stealing ballots, the Republic of Whangamomona elected John Herlihy as their new President, awarding him the prestigious Tui cap necklace.

"I promise to stop paying rates to Horizons! And use the money to make beer free on Sundays!," said President of Whangamomona, John Herlihy.

Like some other Presidents, he wouldn't say how he plans to make his promises a reality.

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- NZ Herald

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