The com­plex life of NZ’s new MP

From col­lege ‘Fonzie’ to the House of Par­lia­ment

Whanganui Chronicle - - Nation - By Au­drey Young

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

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