Laura O'Connell-Rapira is the co-founder and campaign director of RockEnrol – a campaign aimed at the youth of New Zealand which is encouraging people to use their vote. Laura wants to put "the party back into politics" and create a more positive outlook on voting and what it means to you. In one of their initiatives if you pledge to vote you are given passes to gigs in the lead up to the election – a wicked incentive for youth to vote. Laura spent five years in Canada and the UK as a charity fundraiser and also worked on the festival circuit with Glastonbury and Secret Garden Party. This serves as a great background for the amazing things she's doing to empower youth to vote with RockEnrol.
What’s happening in the world of Laura O'Connell-Rapira for 2014?
Oh you know, the norm… trying to start a youth movement to solve youth voter decline with next to no budget (all changemakers & social entrepreneurs will understand this). Working 14 hour days, trading on sweat equity and sharing my salary with my best friend (who I made quit her stable job at the bank) to pursue our dream and mission of deepening our country’s democracy by ensuring young voices are heard. I've also started raving (sober) in the mornings, that's pretty fun.
Describe the most generous person you know. How have they influenced you?
The most generous person I know is Gemma Plank. She has a perfect combination of courage and curiosity, which means she will stand up for what she believes in, but will also take time to try and understand other people’s points of view in a really genuine, connected and concerned sort of way. She gives really amazing gifts, bakes treats for people, remembers names and sends really nice texts that say the right words of encouragement when you need it.
Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated?
Picking up rubbish. If 1000 people picked up one piece of rubbish and put it in the bin or recycled it everyday of their lives – that's 1000 less pieces of trash ending up in our streams, rivers and oceans EVERY DAY.
Can you tell us three things that inspire you and why?
Treehouses – I love being in nature. Everyone does surely, and working from a computer most days I often accidentally find myself idly scrolling treehugger.com or Pinterest to look at pictures of epic treehouses, hobbit homes and yurts. I love the sense of magic and wonder these buildings evoke. One day I will live in a treehouse… with a slide.
Raves – I am terrible at meditation, but raving and dancing to electronic music puts me right there in the zen zone.
Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis – EVERYONE should read this book, it offers evidence-driven and science-based thoughts and case studies around why the future and our world is so much better than we currently believe it to be.