Par­ent­hood, then pol­i­tics for new MP

South Taranaki Star - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JANE MATTHEWS

Harete Hi­pango isn’t a ca­reer politi­cian but she thinks she’s helped her com­mu­nity in ways that are just as valu­able.

‘‘I’ve just given ser­vice to my com­mu­nity in a dif­fer­ent way and that’s by prac­tis­ing as a lawyer, but most im­por­tantly be­ing a good par­ent, be­ing a re­spon­si­ble con­tribut­ing mem­ber to the com­mu­nity, but be­ing a good par­ent,’’ Hi­pango, the MP for the Whanganui/ South Taranaki elec­torate, said.

‘‘I think that’s the foun­da­tion of any so­ci­ety.’’

Hi­pango re­tained the Whanganui seat for the Na­tional Party dur­ing the re­cent elec­tion, re­plac­ing her pre­de­ces­sor Ch­ester Bor­rows.

The mother of three has been a lawyer for more than 25 years, was born and bred in Whanganui, has ge­nealog­i­cal links to Taranaki, has been in­volved with a health board, was an ath­lete in her younger years and much more.

She thought be­com­ing a politi­cian was a ‘‘nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion’’ in her life.

‘‘It was just a mat­ter of when,’’ Hi­pango said.

‘‘I’d thought about it over the years be­cause I’d al­ways been ex­posed to that as a lit­tle girl, go­ing along to meet­ings and what we call civic func­tions with the mayor back in the 60s with my fa­ther and grand­fa­ther.’’

Bor­rows had been in the seat for 12 years be­fore he ap­proached Hi­pango, ask­ing if she would take his place as the Na­tional Party

‘‘My fo­cus has al­ways been fam­ily first.’’

Harete Hi­pango

MP for the area.

‘‘A cou­ple of rea­sons why I think Ch­ester ap­proached me and I’ve never asked him why - is be­cause we come from a sim­i­lar back­ground in terms of com­mu­nity ser­vice - the jus­tice sec­tor. Ma­tu­rity is a big fac­tor and ex­pe­ri­ence is an­other big fac­tor, and I’m gen­uinely ded­i­cated in want­ing to make a dif­fer­ence for the bet­ter in our com­mu­nity.’’

The tim­ing was per­fect to Hi­pango.

‘‘It seemed to be re­ally good be­cause the kids had all grown up.

‘‘My fo­cus has al­ways been fam­ily first - be­ing a mum first.’’

Hi­pango said ev­ery­one had been ask­ing her whether she thought she could fill Bor­rows’ shoes.

‘‘When it was first men­tioned to me I said ‘well I’ve got pretty size­able feet’,’’ she laughed.

Hi­pango said ‘‘ul­ti­mately it’s about com­mu­nity’’ and she looks for­ward to meet­ing more of the Taranaki com­mu­nity.

JANE MATTHEWS/STUFF

Harete Hi­pango, the Na­tional Party MP for Whanganui/ South Taranaki, is look­ing for­ward to meet­ing more of the Taranaki com­mu­nity.

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