I was born and raised in England where my politics were shaped from a young age by the threat of nuclear war, the toxicity of apartheid and the rise of Thatcherism.
My family immigrated to New Zealand just after I turned 14. I immediately felt at home living in Ponsonby and attending Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, where my interests in service and activism were encouraged. At Otago University, where I completed a law degree (hons) in 1991, I volunteered at the community law centre, taught English as a second language, and was secretary of the Otago Law Students Association.
My community activism continued during a 15 year legal career.
During this time my dad was killed in a car crash. He was 49. Incidentally, my partner Paul and I have lived since 2006 in the Grey Lynn house dad bought over 30 years ago. Many years later, and now with a role on the Waitematā Local Board advocating for road safety, I’ve come to think of dad’s death not just as a family tragedy but also as an example of why the “safe systems” approach to creating a forgiving roading network is so necessary.
An e-bike is my main form of transport but I do own a working 1934 Austin 7 inherited from my dad and am a member of the Vintage Austin Register of NZ.
In 2009, I became a full-time volunteer in the community involved with cycling advocacy, community development and sustainability. I’ve been a trustee of the Kelmarna Organic City Farm, Grey Lynn 2030 and Connected Media, the coordinator of Frocks on Bikes, membership secretary of Cycle Action Auckland (now Bike Auckland) and organiser of climate action events.
I was named Sustainability Champion at the 2011 Sustainable Business Network awards for my cycling advocacy and involvement with the Grey Lynn Farmers Market, which I served for five years as chair of the management committee.