I was born and raised in New Plymouth so am really a 'Naki girl. But I learned to become an Aucklander after 27 years of working life there and now I'm a Nelsonian!
I went to Victoria University in the 1970s and got a BA(Hons) in English and then went to Teachers' College in Auckland. I taught in Auckland secondary schools for 8 years (Westlake Girls' High and Green Bay High Schools) because I thought education was a way of changing the world. I still think that, even 30 years on! I went to work fulltime (instead of in an honorary capacity alongside my teaching job) for PPTA, the secondary teachers' union, because I thought unions were a way of changing the world. I still think that.
After a couple of other union jobs, I was appointed as the foundation Director of the Centre for Labour Studies at the University of Auckland. I taught there as a Senior Lecturer int the Department of Management Studies and Employment Relations (Arts and Commerce faculties) for 9 years in the 1990s.
I completed a Master of Philosophy (First Class) in Industrial Relations and taught New Zealand Labour History, Women and Employment Relations, Organisation and Management and similar things. Then in 1999, I went to do it instead of teach it: I worked for 2 District Health Boards in Auckland and then all District Health Boards across the country, negotiating Collective Employment Agreements with the health sector unions.
I joined the Labour Party in 1984 because I thought that was a way of changing the world. I still think that. It is. Especially if you want a fairer, more just world where people's futures are not determined by the socio-economic status they were born into. I was President of the Labour Party from 1993-1995 and became an MP in 2005 when my daughter was old enough to contribute to the decision. She is now a member of Young Labour. I am gay and have a partner and one daughter.
Phone: 04 817 9399
Address: 19B Selwyn Place, PO Box 53, Nelson
Phone: 03 545 7282
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