Zone 2 representative/Whakatane-Ohope Community Board
Carolyn Hamill

Community board member, veterinarian, outdoors lover

“For democracy to function well I believe we need a strong focus on localism.”

Carolyn Hamill was inspired to get involved in local government through a friend on the local community board. She loves her region for its beaches, bush, biculturalism and laid-back lifestyle, and this commitment to her rohe meant standing for local government felt like a natural thing to do.  

Working part-time as a veterinarian and assisting with research projects at Massey University means Carolyn is mixing with people from many different walks of life. It gives her a wide perspective on the needs of the local community. 

She knows people truly care about what happens in their rohe, but need an avenue to contribute – something that can mean different things for different people.  

Carolyn says local government provides a template for individuals, whānau, hapu, iwi and community groups to share opinions, give feedback and influence decisions. Having a strong community board and local council enables the community to contribute meaningfully. 

She believes local government will be increasingly successful when there is greater diversity in elected members, noting that communities will stay disengaged unless they see themselves in the people who represent them.  

It takes a tough skin and courage to make bold decisions around climate change issues, Carolyn says, but that this needs to be a priority for the foreseeable future – along with strong leadership and vision in councillors and community board members.