Hutt South electorate candidate – Green
Where did you grow up?
‘My family left Lower Hutt where I was born and moved to Tinakori Rd where I lived until I left school. We lived in a big old house, big enough for six kids, parents, a cat, dog and endless puppies. My bedroom looked onto the street with trams and a horse drawn milk cart – pretty noisy. We had a lawn big enough to hit a cricket ball, a May tree with an amazing swing and a big vege garden. Tinakori wasn’t smart like it is now – a good place to get a large, cheap house for all those kids.’
Tell us about a favourite childhood memory…
‘A special memory is being given a spaniel puppy, Naenae. All mine! She had endless litters of seven puppies each and once when the cat died Naenae fed the kittens. All those little squirming bodies snuggled up together.’
When did you know you’d work in politics? Was it in childhood? Later?
‘I was fired up politically in 1972 by a TV interview with a guy repairing his roof saying, “We only have one world and if we poison and use it up there’s no other”. The next day I tracked down the world’s first environmental party, the Values Party, and joined up. We were mostly young parents worried about our kids’ future and about what we would say when they were older and asked, “Did you know?”What did you do?” In 1975 I was a Values Party candidate with a baby due on Election Day! It wasn’t planned that way. I was already pregnant when Rob Muldoon got drunk and announced an election on my due date. But it was my best election gimmick!’
What is your greatest glory? (This could be in adulthood.)
‘An amazing time for me was trekking in the Himalayas with 3-year-old Ingrid and 6-year-old Matthew. Husband John and I left the kids with our Nepalese Sherpas and went for a walk. When we came back the kids were sitting cheerfully with a couple of slightly ragged bearers sharing their bowls of runny “porridge”. They were totally happy squatting on the rocks in those mountains. No language in common but plenty of communication. I was proud they were happy with so little.’