My first term as a councillor has been hard work and a lot of learning, two things fortunately I relish and am very familiar with! The paperwork has been heavy, but not as heavy as the weight of the decisions a councillor has to make for the betterment of our region. The councillor position is one that comes with a lot of pressure and responsibility. And so it should. The pressure pales in comparison to how thankful and fortunate I am to have been elected to council in 2014. I still wear the widest grin every single time I sit down at our committee, council and community meetings. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have your confidence to sit at those tables.
I still hold community engagement as priority one. Being involved in our community, and hearing the voices of our community is still priority one for me. Going to the Petrolheads breakfasts and car shows on the first Sunday of every month. Attending the Ka Pai Kaiti whanau events. I enjoy being with the hardworking volunteers when the cruise ships come into port. Seeing all the community faces on our Oneroa walkway. I never want to be the kind of governor who becomes removed from the community. After all, it’s the community who put me at the council table.
Community work is still a high priority because there is lots to be learnt by getting your hands dirty. You can’t learn that around a council table. My children and I still enjoy contributing to the Gisborne community. Whether it’s planting Kaiti Hill and Waikanae stream, cleaning up Kaiti beach, painting out tagging in our community, or marching against child abuse; being good family contributors to the community is still very important to me.
I am still a staunch advocate of zero human waste in our rivers and oceans. Whether it’s due to poor infrastructure, heavy rain or malfunctioning equipment; it has to be fixed. I am still a huge advocate for smart cycle and walkways. Central government has prioritised cycle and walkways in their roading budget so it’s fiscally smart to align our priorities. I still strongly support sustainable economic development. I still think we need to be moving to high value, low-cost-to-export products like Research and Development. Piggy backing off successful things like Mindlab and our gigatown bid to foster and grow our existing technological expertise. Gisborne has always been a place of innovation, a place where we embraced technologies quickly; things like colour printing for Photo News was done here first! Let’s keep up that tradition!
Standing for the Health Board
I feel like I have more to contribute, which is why I will also be standing for the Tairāwhiti District Health board in addition to running for the Gisborne District Council again. My background in social work with “at risk” teens from the Activity Centre and as a Social Worker in Schools gives me practical experience. As a former tutor of Social Work students and as a manager of a Social Work degree I will also have strong theoretical knowledge to contribute to the governance of our District Health board.
Hauora Tairawhiti has been engaging in things like Community Housing, strategies for engaging with gang affiliated whanau and what holistic health looks like. I am active and educated in all of these spaces that impact on the health and wellbeing of our people. My addition to the Health Board will help provide the board with balance, exuberance and some fresh ideas.
I wrote previously about gratitude, to be honest, it’s the gratitude that motivates me to do my absolute best for the Gisborne District. Gratitude motivates me to diligently read, digest, understand and question everything that comes across my table. Gratitude makes me keen to learn new things so I can contribute more at the council table. I think I still have a lot to contribute to the council table but at the end of the day it is entirely up to the community. And so it should.