Hutt South electorate candidate – Independent
Where did you grow up?
‘I was born in Escombe, South Africa. Our nearest city was Durban, a beautiful city with a natural harbour. It looked lovely with a blue sea and white clouds. White-tipped waves breaking on the shore still give me my happiest thrill. In 1951 my family and I came to New Zealand as self-paying immigrants.’
Tell us about a favourite childhood memory…
‘During the time we lived in Escombe, my parents bought a house in the nearby town, Northdene. In the front garden was a large wild fig tree. It was higher than our house and very hard to climb for a youngish child. I persevered and eventually climbed well up this tree. I could sit on a branch and look over the house rooftops – and see Durham Harbour. The sky was usually blue and looked lovely with just a few clouds floating by. Everything was calm and serene and looked so nice. This is the loveliest and dearest memory I have.’
When did you know you’d work in politics? Was it in childhood? Later?
‘I never thought that I would actually work in politics, but I was interested in it. I have never managed to get into it. As an older person now, I find myself being subjected to some rather unpleasant incidents. I have also seen some unpleasant treatment given to my friends. This has made me very determined to try to reduce these aspects that are creeping into our society. This is a big order as a job, but I am going to try to improve the things that are being rather nasty nowadays.’
What is your greatest glory? (This could be in adulthood.)
‘On a hot sunny day in 1949 school holidays, I felt bored and decided to bike the four miles to my school to see if anyone was around. When I reached the school, I walked inside the old wooden building – it was dark and cool. My previous teacher walked towards me down the corridor, and then said, ‘Congratulations’. She had a smile on her face. I thanked her, shook her hands, and asked her what the ‘congratulations’ was for, and why she was smiling. She told me our exam results were in, and I had received the highest Standard 6 English mark in the country.
‘Later in 1980, I attended Victoria University of Wellington and received a BA in English, and just scraped into Honours. I was the first person in my family to achieve this – now some more family members have gone to university.’