Ngaire Best is the only Wellington City Councillor who actually lives in Tawa. She was first elected to the Tawa Community Board in 1998, and served as its chair 2004-2007. Ngaire served a term as a City Councillor 2001-2004, and came back into Council in 2007. Her current roles with the Council are as a Northern Ward Representative, Social Portfolio Leader*, and a member of the Tawa Community Board.
Whilst many of us who now call Tawa home have emigrated here from other parts of the country (and the world), Ngaire has lived here pretty much from "day one" and, accordingly, has the honour of being as true a "Tawa native" as it's possible to be.
Where were you born, Ngaire?
The main theatre of Wellington Public Hospital!
Where did you grow up?
In Redwood, Tawa.
What about college and tertiary education?
Wellington Girls' College, Petone Technical Institute, Wellington Polytechnic, Aoraki Polytechnic, Victoria University, Massey University! Still an extramural student at Massey, working on a Bachelor of Business Studies and part-way through a law degree.
What is your your line of work?
Currently a local body politician. Have been a legal executive, childbirth educator, adult facilitator and real estate agent. "Very people- and service-focused when you start looking at it."
What about family?
Married to Andrew with one daughter and one son, two cats and a pup (Shitzu Tibetan Spaniel X). "I should send you a photo - he's so cute."
What are your interests/hobbies?
Really enjoy going to the gym. I do quite a bit of road cycling (in the summer). Once upon a time I used to play tennis. I knit occasionally and I like reading - "I love novels."
How long have you lived in Tawa?
Most of my life.
What do you think is great about Tawa?
The sense of community - "I think that's probably Tawa's biggest asset" - from people caring for each other through to various school & church communities that exist. It (Tawa) has actually got everything here.
What, if anything, would improve Tawa?
At the moment, the weather. If we could create our own microclimate, "it can be miserable everywhere else but nice and sunny here!" Actually Tawa doesn't need a lot of change. More seriously, investment in the town centre because it is looking tired.
What is your favourite dessert?
Tiramisu (Italian trifle).
Favourite sports person?
Irene van Dyk - I think she's great.
Favourite style of music?
I like jazz although my kids get grumpy when I play it in the car. I quite like popular stuff too.
Favourite holiday destination in New Zealand?
Bay of Islands - it's just beautiful.
"I'm going to change my mind here and say Lake Benmore. We had a terrific holiday there with family (the cousins, etc) a few years ago."
"Failing to plan is planning to fail." (I'm a planner. I have everything planned out).
If you could meet any three people (alive or dead), who would they be?
Princess Diana; Winston Churchill; Mother Teresa.
What three things would you take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
A good friend (someone to talk to because I'd get really lonely), a limitless supply of good food and good wine, a good book.
What is one talent you would like that you do not have?
Time to be able to develop all my aspirations. I'd like the time to be able to go back to law school, the time to sit and play the piano, etc.
What is one talent you have that you could not do without?
I think I'm a reasonably good communicator. I don't think I could do without that.
What accomplishments/achievements in your life give you the most satisfaction/pride?
My kids - probably my biggest 'achievement'.
Being elected to Council is obviously a huge deal, so there's an element of that.
What are three things you would like to do before you die?
I'd like to jump out of an aeroplane (with a parachute and probably someone to help me).
To do more travelling - "I love travel."
And one of my goals is to paddle across Cook Strait.
Compiled July 2009.
* November 2010 update:
Ngaire was re-elected to the Wellington City Council in the local body elections in October 2010. She is now Portfolio Leader for "Three Waters & Waste" (replacing the Social Portfolio).