Social entrepreneur puts Council hand up
After years of entrepreneurial social work that has taken her around the world Lea Cowley wants to now utilise her skills in Tokoroa.
And what better way to do so than to stand for the South Waikato District Council’s Tokoroa Ward seat in the upcoming local body elections.
The proud bilingual Samoan, who was born and raised in Tokoroa before leaving to pursue various projects such as founding New Zealand’s first sexual and reproductive advisory service tailored for Pacific people, said it’s time Tokoroa had councillors with vision.
‘‘We haven’t tapped into the pool of talent of diaspora people in Tokoroa and being an ex public servant of Auckland City Council I have a pretty good idea about how to do that,’’ she said.
‘‘35 per cent of our Pacific community are Cook Islanders and I always tell them our cultural diversity is an advantage.’’
Cowley said for her ‘‘it’s about the arts’’ and she wants to develop an art centre in Tokoroa.
‘‘I have been speaking to people about an idea I have for an art space where you will be able to have visual and performing arts all in one place because that will allow us to attracts tourists.
‘‘Let’s bring in the Cook Island ladies who make donuts; let’s bring in the women who do crochet and knitting; let’s look at how we can partner with schools and include them all in the arts because there is so much potential here.’’
She said Tokoroa needs to elect people connected with the community who have fresh ideas.
‘‘Leadership and governance really lack here and what I mean by that is in the three year time between local elections we should know who can take up leadership roles but we struggle.
‘‘We have only got 19 candidates because the mayor prompted it just before nominations closed so people thought at the last minute they might have a chance.’’
‘‘I am in a unique position from other candidates though because I was born and raised here. I am bilingual, my parents were here in the 50s. I know a lot about local history and I have access to a pool of diaspora people who I have strong connections with and i have access to legions that have come out of here.
‘‘I have a youth and community economic development background.’’
.Cheeses made by Waikato secondary school students, including Putaruru College, as part of the Camembert in the Classroom competition have now been judged to determine an overall winner.
St Peter’s Cambridge students took out the award for top cheese, while Melville High School received best overall School for their efforts in the competition and best branding concept. Fraser High School received an award for best video promotion.
Centre for Science and Primary Industries centre director Lee Taituha said the programme kicked off last year with just two schools and has since grown to
Lea Cowley is standing for the South Waikato District Council’s Tokoroa Ward seat in the upcoming local body elections.