When I look back at our journey, I sometimes feel like pinching myself! I was a student in Cape Town in 2000 when I met my future husband, Deon. In-between studies and work, we travelled on a working holiday through Europe. After 6 months, we were looking for a bit more sunshine (sorry Scotland) and searched for positions on this side of the world. After a few searches on Google, we found a fixed term position in sunny Gisborne. We were completely blown away! Little did we know that our lives would be changed forever. We immediately fell in love with Tairawhiti, especially the people.
Life threw a few curveballs at us during that time, but we felt the spirit of this region in our blood and we knew we were not leaving. We put our roots down, joined heaps of community groups and in the process made wonderful friends for life. Our boys, Alex (14) and Luk (12), were born here and both attend Campion College. Deon works as an Anaesthetist at Gisborne Hospital.
We are so grateful though, when our boys get to hang out and laugh with their grandparents and cousins who live on the other side of the world – that connection is just priceless.
A large number of people from across the region have asked me to consider standing for the Mayoralty of Gisborne/Turanga. They tell me that I have done my apprenticeship, I am young(ish), I know the people and that I understand what can be done differently and better. They also say that we need new blood, new ideas and new energy. To that I say: "I am ready to take on this new challenge!"
People have said to me that being the Mayor requires total focus - you have to be real, available and present. I want to give you my undivided attention, and if I am successful at the mayoralty, it will be '100% game on'.
When you have leadership roles at both Council and the Hospital, you gain an insight into the complex way they work and how much they are involved in our everyday lives. I want to acknowledge staff at both organisations for their dedication to the people of our region, their professional approach and for always putting the needs of whanau at the very top of their thinking.
Life is all about the next generation and I want to lead an organisation that is proud of the world that we leave behind for our children.
Deon and I look back on 18 wonderful years here in Tairawhiti - we are so grateful for the kindness shown to us from whanau here.
This is our home.
"Ma te Atua tatau e manaaki e tiaki I nga wa katoa!"
"May the Lord always bless and guide us."