by Geoffrey Churchman

Having frequently seen Katherine at the Waikanae Support Hub during the 18 months it was open, and been impressed with her speaking at the candidates meeting, Eva and I caught up with her for a chat at Longbeach café in Tutere Street.

She told us that her late father was a US Marine who met her mother while out here on a stint doing Guard Duty at the US Embassy in Wellington in the late 1950s.  The couple returned to America and had 3 boys, Katherine’s brothers, there.  Her parents came back to NZ and Katherine was born.  Although she has spent a few years in America, mainly the northeast, there’s no trace of a non-Kiwi accent, and New Zealand is definitely home for her.

She is married to an electrician and they have lived in Tutere Street for the last 7 years.  In March this year they were in New York when the Covid flap began, so made the decision to come back pronto.  At that point 14 days self-isolation at home was required and the Ministry of Health people were ringing them 3 or 4 times a day to inquire about their wellness. But they never tested positive.

She has long taken an interest in the local Waikanae scene, and the by-election presents the opportunity to do things as an elected representative, in particular advocate for the beach community, which as we’ve observed several times, pays a vastly disproportionate share of KCDC Rates and receives a minimal amount of its spending.

Apart from the elderly beach Community Hall that needs replacing, there is a need for urgent stormwater drainage work. While her own yard remains water-free after heavy rain, her neighbour’s becomes a swamp.

At the beach, the council needs to ensure its waste bins are cleared more frequently so there is no overflow – this is exactly the sort of issue which a local representative needs to take up.

For the rest of Waikanae, she particularly wants action on a proper library and service centre — the WCB needs to be the ‘squeaky wheel’ which gets the KCDC ‘oil’ (money allocated).

Needless to say, I was able to impart first-hand experience about what to expect, and it’s a mix of attitudes that she will encounter, both from other elected members and staff. We’re sure she won’t stand for any nonsense.