The complex life of NZ’s new MP
From college ‘Fonzie’ to the House of Parliament
Dan Bidois, the child delinquent who was s uspended f r om Howick College for mooning the principal, has achieved another milestone in his story of success by winning the Northcote byelection.
Failure is a big part of the Dan Bidois success story. In the end it trumped the stronger local credentials of Labour’s Shanan Halbert by 1362 votes.
“Historically I have also had to lose something in order to win it,” Bidois told the Herald yesterday in the afterglow of his win.
Last election he tried to stand for National in Pakuranga, where he grew up, but was beaten for selection by Simeon Brown. As a consolation, he was placed at No 72 on National’s 75-strong list.
“I applied for a scholarship to Harvard the first time and didn’t get it, a Fulbright,” he said.
“It was the second time that I got it.”
The same went for his bid to become student president at Auckland University.
“I fought that and lost to a better man. Didn’t win the first time but won it the second time.”
He was arrested as a child for stealing a Mars Bar from a supermarket — and ended up many years later as a Foodstuffs executive.
It is a similar theme in his education.
“I was a big failure at school,” he said. He was bottom of the class in schools Star of the Sea Catholic Primary, Howick Intermediate and Howick College.
“I spent a lot of my time in detention and I got suspended twice from Howick College — for stealing and pulling a moonie at the principal.”
He described himself as the “Fonzie” of Howick College — popular for the wrong reasons.
“I was a pretty rough kid. I was ai mless. My parents brought me up and raised me fantastically but for some reason I was just not clicking.”
Overcoming bone cancer at age 15 transformed his approach to life. He qualified as a butcher then turned to study.
He must be one of the very few Kiwis who has done courses at MIT in both Manukau (butchery) and Massachusetts (behavioural economics).
He did a master’s thesis on the funding system for early childhood education in New Zea- land and how to improve participation rates of Ma¯ori and Pacific children and has four degrees including one from Harvard University, Boston.
The astonishing range of the 35-year-old bachelor includes not only boning carcasses but being employed as an economist at the OECD in Paris for three years.
Bidois was adopted by Mike and Leah Bidois when he was 9 months ol d. His parents divorced when he was 9 and his mother later remarried.
He has his birth certificate but has not tried to track down his birth parents: “I would love to find them one day but it is just having the time.”
He has two older sisters and an older brother who all live in Auckland. His birth mother was part-Ma¯ori. Through his adopted father he is Nga¯ti Maniopoto and his marae is Hangatiki marae near Waitomo Caves.
Living abroad for seven years in Boston, Paris and Malaysia “made me so incredibly proud of being Ma¯ori.”
“It made me incredibly proud of the upbringing I’ve had in Auckland and just how lucky we are, so I’ve come back home to contribute to that and make sure this continues to be a fantastic place to live and raise a family.”
He moved to a rented house in Northcote after his selection as National’s candidate and now plans to buy a house.
“I want to raise a family, I want to get married and have kids, raise a family in what is a fantastic part of Auckland.”
The official byelection results won’t be declared until June 20 but Bidois will head to Wellington to join the National Party caucus tomorrow where 55 colleagues will celebrate his success.
Dan Bidois is keen to settle down, get married and raise a family in his electorate Northcote. PHOTO / SUPPLIED