The first Pasifika woman elected to the Auckland Supercity council for Manugakiekie-Tamaki Ward in 2018, says working with her community at a local government level is a role she loves and a position she does not take lightly. A strong local voice for the community, Councillor Josephine Bartley says climate action, equity within the work place, and workers rights are at the forefront of her work, and why she was born to serve.
“It’s pretty much my whole DNA. It’s about service and working in public service is another way to do that.” Of Samoan heritage, Cr. Bartley has worked in the sector for more than 25 years.
A solicitor by profession Cr. Bartley says the council plays a big role in the community’s lives. She says the community may not realise just how much the council plays a hand in everything we do.
“They don’t see that actually council have a bigger role to play in your life and I think that’s why we have low voter turnouts in local body elections for several reasons, maybe because they didn’t know the candidates before, the candidates were not diverse before, they didn’t reflect their communities and so of course people disengage.”
“Council has a hand in everything that you do from the park that you walk through, to the library, to the hall that you hire for your 21st and your family functions to the road blocks and the water coming into your home and community services.”
PW caught up with the councillor as she begins her campaign trail for the local body elections, set for October. And while she is still the only Pasifika woman in the Auckland Council she is confident that change is coming. She talks about the highs and lows of public service, working with her community of Glen Innes, and finding that balance between career and personal life.
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Image credit: Auckland Council