Welsh lord mayor moves to Auckland
A former Welsh mayor has moved to New Zealand and is wanting to get involved in politics.
Cardiff city councillor and former lord mayor Margaret Jones moved from Wales to Auckland in February.
During her political career she rubbed shoulders with Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth, members of the British royal family, and Angela Merkel.
Now, living in Freemans Bay, she rubs shoulders with her three granddaughters most days, who live around the corner from her and husband Lawrence Jones’ new home.
‘‘In our 70s it is quite daunting letting go of your old life, and coming here for a new life but we have done it.
I want to get on now and make a difference here in Auckland,’’ Jones said.
After a busy and challenging career, including being Cardiff lord mayor for two years and a councillor for more than 10 years, Jones wanted to take time to settle into Auckland before taking on her next career challenge.
Jones said she had loved being engaged in local body politics and while she was not after the Auckland mayoral position just yet, she did want to get politically active again.
‘‘It’s been busy getting settled here but I feel ready to start something now - probably board director type work, in a volunteer capacity for a while,’’ she said.
Reflecting on her political career Jones said meeting with Obama and Merkel at the NATO Summit in 2014 in Cardiff was a definite highlight.
‘‘Obama was the star of the show,’’ Jones said.
‘‘Also as lord mayor I had to chair the council meetings, and that’s a task managing over 70 councillors all wanting to talk at once,’’ she said.
Jones retired early from a nursing and health management career, before entering politics.
With an MBA in human resources, she progressed quickly through local body political ranks culminating in the lord mayor of Cardiff role in 2014.
Jones was the 113th lord mayor in Cardiff and the 11th or 12th women to hold the position.
During her political career she managed the council’s health board and later moved into leading the environment portfolio.
‘‘Recycling fascinated me and there are great opportunities here for domestic recycling,’’ she said.
Margaret Jones says one of the first items she unpacked after arriving in Auckland was her mayoral portrait.