Zone 2 chair/Deputy Mayor, Hamilton City Council
Angela O’Leary

Deputy Mayor, ballroom dancer, gym-goer

“The most rewarding thing about local government is seeing a vision through, from the planning stages to implementation.”

Angela O’Leary says she never expected to get elected to local government. But rather than be dissuaded by believing she was ‘too young’ and ‘totally unknown’, Angela took the ‘why not?’ approach and went for it.  

Today, she advocates strongly that people should care about local government more than they do, as it is a part of people’s lives every day, in every way.  

Before local government, Angela had run several small businesses which helped her understand the needs of business owners and the importance of a thriving city. Today, she’s facing the challenge of balancing community needs and wants with limited budgets and a fast-growing city.  

She believes local government could be more successful with greater diversity around the table, a better funding model and stronger voter turnout in elections.  

Angela has some advice for people who are where she was 16 years ago, considering a role in local government: personal agendas do not make for good, elected members. Rather, she says, you must be willing to represent your community, be open-minded and accepting of others. 

These days Angela remains inspired and energised by the more than 160 ethnicities that call Kirikiriroa Hamilton home, and she loves to attend events put on by these communities where kindness, culture and the best parts of humanity are shared.