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Tuesday, 23 April 2019 04:05 pm

Fresh face on Tawa board renews family ties


FAMILY TIES: Alistair Sutton, wife Leanne, mum Elizabeth Sutton, grandmother Nancy Kemp and sister Victoria Sutton, beneath a portrait of grandfather Mervyn Kemp.

ALISTAIR Sutton is a newbie to the Tawa Community Board – but the third generation of his family to serve the small town.

When Alistair‘s dad Graeme Sutton died last year, he had been on the board and its predecessor the Tawa Borough Council for 30 years.

Alistair’s grandfather, Mervyn Kemp, was the mayor of Tawa for 29 years until 1984, and the town library is named for him.

The youngest member of the board – at 33 – signed his official declaration with Mayor Wade-Brown at the board‘s first meeting last week.

Elizabeth Sutton, Alistair’s mother, says he grew up hearing local politics debated by his father and grandfather, but never expressed a desire to get involved until his dad’s death, when he decided to stand in the by-election.


SIGNING UP: Alistair and Mayor Celia Wade-Brown after signing the official declaration.

“Last week Alistair was talking and talking local politics, and I thought, ‘you sound just like your grandfather’.”

Though he didn’t win the by-election resulting from his Dad’s death, Alistair stood and won a seat on the Tawa Community Board (TCB) in the October local government elections.

He says: “I did not campaign on any particular issue. I just wanted to work to look after Tawa and its uniqueness, which flows onto what I would like to achieve during my first term on the Board. I want all the Tawa residents to know what the board does for Tawa.”

Ray Lindsay, president of the Tawa Progressive and Ratepayers’ Association, says he wishes Mr Sutton well, but believes he was voted in because of his name.

“The board is a rubber-stamping service for the Wellington City Council and it’s never been given any teeth,” he says. “Nothing of value has come out of the board.”

The first meeting of the new board was chaired by Mayor Wade-Brown until the members signed their declarations and voted in the new chair, desktop publisher Malcolm Sparrow, from among their members.


THE FULL BOARD: (From left) Justin Lester, Ngaire Best, Alistair Sutton, Robert Tredger, Mayor Wade-Brown, Malcolm Sparrow, Chris Reading, Graeme Hansen, Margaret Lucas.

The mayor joked that she was very experienced – this was the second meeting she had ever chaired, the first was the Wellington City Council meeting that morning.

The board has six members and two Wellington city councillors – Ngaire Best and Justin Lester.

Justin Lester is a new councillor, winning Hayley Wain’s seat, and Alistair and Margaret Lucas are the new faces on the board

Alistair Sutton works for Westpac and with wife Leanne Sutton, also born and bred in Tawa, has a baby daughter.

Mum Elizabeth says Alistair’s new role serving the Tawa community makes her feel “really proud and quite emotional”.

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is a student at Whitireia studying the National Diploma in Journalism (Multimedia).
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