Rimutaka electorate candidate – Green
Where did you grow up?
‘I grew up in is a small, medieval village in the South of France set around a beautiful castle and church. Avignon, the closest city, is about 20 minutes away. The land is covered in vineyards and pine forests, and in the distance, you can see the high mountains of the French Alps, round hills, and the mighty Rhone river. The light is bright all year round, the summer heat is heavy, and the cicadas are deafening. The scent of lavender, rosemary, and thyme growing wild is everywhere, but wine making is at the centre of everything, and has been since the 10th century.’
Tell us about a favourite childhood memory…
‘The Toulourenc is a small river that flows at the foothills of the Mont Ventoux. Every summer, my family would walk up the mountain in the river bed. At times we had to jump into deep pools of cold water and climb up in cascading water. We would jump and swim and laugh our hearts out. This was a family tradition, and I remember the laughter and the happiness that we all shared, my parents, my sister, my brother, and I. Every time I return to the European summer, I go up the Toulourenc and relive those wonderful memories.’
When did you know you’d work in politics? Was it in childhood? Later?
‘My German grandfather was a local councilor so politics runs in the family. I’ve always been interested in politics but it is only when I moved to New Zealand in 2008 that I decided to become politically active. I joined the Greens just before the 2014 General Election and decided to stand as a candidate last year because the greatest challenges of our time – climate change, poverty, water – are being ignored by our current government.’
What is your greatest glory? (This could be in adulthood.)
‘My proudest achievement is leading Treaty Times 30, a project to translate the Treaty of Waitangi into New Zealand Sign Language and 30 community languages. More than 130 volunteers contributed to the projects which led to the publishing of a beautiful book in February 2017. The value of the project was recognised at the Upper Hutt Wellington Community Awards ceremony last month, where we won the Community Award in the Heritage and Environment category.’