I think if there is one word that I use the most during my time on council its the word community, and I will not even try to count the number of times it appears on this page or on this site. If it was a drinking game, we would be legless pretty quick!
One of the attractions for me in moving from the city into a small rural town was the ability to get involved in my community and have an active role in shaping its future. At the time, I never realised that this would end up in politics, however the natural progression coupled with my passion for the province has taken me on this journey.
Not long after arriving in Lumsden I joined the local Volunteer Fire Brigade and carried on in that awesome space until finishing up as Deputy Chief prior to becoming a councillor.
I also took on a short sabbatical as a Volunteer Support Officer for Fire and Emergency and thoroughly enjoyed my time in this role working out in the great communities of Western Southland.
I am a founding member of the Lumsden Heritage Trust, where we have successfully transformed the Lumsden Railway Station into a world class historical railway precinct. The most rewarding project was recovering the late 1800's locomotives that were buried in the river.
I am currently the chair of the Northern Southland Medical Trust. It was a sad day for northern Southland when the DHB took away the Maternity Centre from Lumsden, and along with many in the community I have been very loudly advocating for getting this service back.
Being involved in these groups and others, along with my time on the Community Board, has given me a real insight into the contribution that men, women and families put into their communities. Not for money, not for recognition, simply because they want to contribute to their community with whatever skills they have to offer.
More often than not, its these same people that are involved in all of the various organisations and groups that make our little towns tick. I believe that it is the role of council to ensure that it is as easy as possible for these people to do the mahi, and nothing frustrates me more than bureaucracy getting in the way.