Rimutaka electorate candidate – National
Where did you grow up?
‘I was born in Vancouver, Canada, but along with the other one million or so migrants, I have been proud to call New Zealand home for nearly 30 years.
‘My childhood was similar to that of many New Zealanders. Both my parents are high school graduates, and they divorced when I was 3.
‘Growing up we didn’t have much money, so I sampled eight different houses and five different primary schools by the time I was 12. My mother remarried to a teamster at the time that the workforce was crippled by union strikes and lockouts.
‘To keep a roof over our heads, Mum worked as a bank clerk, did piece sewing, and worked at McDonald’s. I got my first job, a paper run, at age 10. I was very proud to buy my first two-wheeler when I was 11.
‘I moved out aged 17 and worked my way through my last year of high school and three university degrees. Studying a PhD brought me to New Zealand.’
Tell us about your favourite childhood memory…
‘Despite the difficult times, I have lots of great memories, playing scrabble with my Mum and great-grandmother, fishing with my Dad and sister, becoming a Brownie by swearing allegiance to my sovereign and country, and, later earning the highest award, the Canada Cord, as a Girl Guide.’
When did you know you’d work in politics? Was it in childhood? Later?
‘I’d wanted to be an MP since my teens, but put it on hold for so long it was nearly forgotten. It reawakened in 2011, with the realisation that my children were nearly grown, and I’d better get on! In 2017, after working within the National Party for six years and going through the rigorous selection process, I am honoured to have become your National Party candidate for Rimutaka.’
What is your greatest glory?
‘Having my three children, and completing a PhD. Also starting my own project-based consultancy in Wellington. From designing investment frameworks for Government agencies to preparing a business continuity plan for pandemic influenza that won global recognition for New Zealand by the World Health Organisation, I’ve had many opportunities to influence positive change in NZ.
‘I am also particularly proud of kick starting the walking school bus movement in New Zealand by working with schools and parents to create a simple way to “network” their community so our children have a safe and environmentally friendly way to travel to and from school. The programme was an international first, and has been picked up by Australia, UK and others.’