Serving the community

MANY ROLES: Pat Seymour — calf rearer, beauty pageant winner, farmer, gardener and community servant — is ready for another term representing the Tawhiti-Uawa ward on Gisborne District Council. Picture by Paul Rickard
WINNER: In 1972 Pat Seymour, seen here with husband Nick, was crowned Mrs East Coast in the regional final for the Mrs New Zealand competition. Picture supplied
FARM LIFE: Pat Seymour in one of her many roles, here with her farmer hat on, feeding out to calves. Picture supplied
TEA TIME: The dairy farmer’s daughter from Howick had no trouble adjusting to life on Wensleydale. Picture supplied

Pat Seymour is clearly doing something right. She has been returned unopposed, for a fourth term, as the Tawhiti-Uawa ward member on the Gisborne District Council. The six-term councillor spoke to reporter Murray Robertson . . .

Pat Seymour grew up in the Auckland suburb of Howick. Her family had a dairy farm on the Hauraki Plains and as a girl she hand-reared jersey calves.

After leaving Pakuranga College she qualified as a technical assistant with Auckland Hospital’s blood transfusion service.

In 1964 the 18-year-old came to Gisborne on holiday and that’s when she met her future husband, Whangara farmer Nick Seymour. Nick was running Wensleydale Farm.

For their first date he escorted the young Pat to the nurses’ ball at the Gisborne Army Hall.

They married two years later and the arrival of their three children, Howard, Andrea and Patrick, over the next few years ensured busy times.

Pat’s long career in community service had its beginnings in Plunket, when her children were still young.
“I have always had a special interest in family issues, particularly the need for rural people to have equal access to services.”

She rose to national office through Plunket, becoming national president in the early 1990s, and was part of moves to introduce the fencing of domestic swimming pools, and car safety restraints for children.

She was granted a Winston Churchill Memorial scholarship in 1996 and travelled to the US and Britain, looking at early childhood and health issues.

Over the years she has served on the former Cook Hospital Board, Crown Health Enterprise Board, Area Health Board, Gisborne-East Coast REAP, as a trustee of the HB Williams Memorial Library book trust and for nine years as a director of the QE2 National Trust.
“The focus was on protecting in perpetuity indigenous vegetation, wetland and natural features on private land.”

Pat’s community service has extended to national politics. She was chairwoman of the East Coast electorate of the National Party for 17 years and is a director of the NZ National Party.

At the Gisborne District Council table, she chairs the environmental, planning and regulations committee and the hearings committee, and was heavily involved in fundraising for the new War Memorial Theatre and Lawson Field Theatre upgrade.

She is the chair of the Crime Prevention Camera Trust, and District Licensing Committee.
She is national chair of the Life Education Trust after chairing the Gisborne branch for 20 years.

Focus on core services

Pat received an OBE for service to the family and community in 1994 and in june this year was awarded a Queen’s Service Order for her services to local government and the community.

She and husband Nick have always loved their garden and Wensleydale still opens its gates for charity.

They fully embraced the planting of trees on the property and Nick remains heavily involved in the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association.

Pat Seymour’s diverse career in voluntary community service has been described as “remarkable”.
“I am grateful for the support Nick has given me to carry out my various community roles,” she says.

“He has always given me his full support, with the proviso that I did not stand for Parliament.
“Our children went to boarding school, which gave me the time to get involved in community activities when other mums would be running their children to and from sport and extracurricular activities.”

Pat has now been the Tawhiti-Uawa ward member for four terms, and is well placed to comment on the performance of the council in the current term.

“Frankly in my view we could have been more focused on core services,” she says.
“The 250 years celebration has been a focus and the city has benefited from the need to have many amenity projects completed for the anticipated influx of visitors.

“I hope the district does get the positive attention that has been planned for October.
“We certainly have some new infrastructure to show for the event, substantially funded by external money, which is good for the ratepayer.”

As for her hopes for the newly elected council, “I hope we will see a business-focused agenda.
“We need to look at council services in the consenting area, so those investing in business or their homes in this community are not so frustrated by the process.

“We need to look at how we spend ratepayer money and what efficiencies we can develop, and how we contract projects.
“Private enterprise is more efficient than local government processes.
“Water, wastewater, fresh water and reticulation are key council issues.

“We cannot go on making excuses that the pipes are not big enough, and not have reticulation in key suburbs like Wainui-Okitu and Makaraka.
“Wastewater and ‘where to’ will be a big conversation for the new council, so too roads, in particular local roads now we have exited from the Tairawhiti Roads initiative.

“Do people know that Waikawa Rd south out of Waipiro Bay is not negotiable even with four-wheel-drive and for about nine months each year? The three or four homeowners there have to use the beach as access.
“It is often very dangerous and a high priority for me this term is to see the road there metalled so that those families have safe and dry access.”

Mrs Seymour said climate change and what messages the council gives to our low lying townships was another important area.
“How we grow their resilience will be another important priority.”
“The community will continue to play an important part in the ‘nice to have’ items that make the city a liveable place for families to live and play.

“The extras will never be solely funded by rates.
“The community and the philanthropic sector has a big part to play in telling GDC what they believe is important and then assisting in its funding.”

As for the future, how long does she see herself continuing as a councillor?

“While I am useful and see a role for myself then I’m keen to continue to serve our community.

“My philosophy is that we are all put on this earth with a role to play and the skills to play whatever that role is.

“It’s up to us to use our skills for the betterment of children and families, the community and the environment.”

Pat Seymour is clearly doing something right. She has been returned unopposed, for a fourth term, as the Tawhiti-Uawa ward member on the Gisborne District Council. The six-term councillor spoke to reporter Murray Robertson . . .

Pat Seymour grew up in the Auckland suburb of Howick. Her family had a dairy farm on the Hauraki Plains and as a girl she hand-reared jersey calves.

After leaving Pakuranga College she qualified as a technical assistant with Auckland Hospital’s blood transfusion service.

In 1964 the 18-year-old came to Gisborne on holiday and that’s when she met her future husband, Whangara farmer Nick Seymour. Nick was running Wensleydale Farm.

For their first date he escorted the young Pat to the nurses’ ball at the Gisborne Army Hall.

They married two years later and the arrival of their three children, Howard, Andrea and Patrick, over the next few years ensured busy times.

Pat’s long career in community service had its beginnings in Plunket, when her children were still young.
“I have always had a special interest in family issues, particularly the need for rural people to have equal access to services.”

She rose to national office through Plunket, becoming national president in the early 1990s, and was part of moves to introduce the fencing of domestic swimming pools, and car safety restraints for children.

She was granted a Winston Churchill Memorial scholarship in 1996 and travelled to the US and Britain, looking at early childhood and health issues.

Over the years she has served on the former Cook Hospital Board, Crown Health Enterprise Board, Area Health Board, Gisborne-East Coast REAP, as a trustee of the HB Williams Memorial Library book trust and for nine years as a director of the QE2 National Trust.
“The focus was on protecting in perpetuity indigenous vegetation, wetland and natural features on private land.”

Pat’s community service has extended to national politics. She was chairwoman of the East Coast electorate of the National Party for 17 years and is a director of the NZ National Party.

At the Gisborne District Council table, she chairs the environmental, planning and regulations committee and the hearings committee, and was heavily involved in fundraising for the new War Memorial Theatre and Lawson Field Theatre upgrade.

She is the chair of the Crime Prevention Camera Trust, and District Licensing Committee.
She is national chair of the Life Education Trust after chairing the Gisborne branch for 20 years.

Focus on core services

Pat received an OBE for service to the family and community in 1994 and in june this year was awarded a Queen’s Service Order for her services to local government and the community.

She and husband Nick have always loved their garden and Wensleydale still opens its gates for charity.

They fully embraced the planting of trees on the property and Nick remains heavily involved in the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association.

Pat Seymour’s diverse career in voluntary community service has been described as “remarkable”.
“I am grateful for the support Nick has given me to carry out my various community roles,” she says.

“He has always given me his full support, with the proviso that I did not stand for Parliament.
“Our children went to boarding school, which gave me the time to get involved in community activities when other mums would be running their children to and from sport and extracurricular activities.”

Pat has now been the Tawhiti-Uawa ward member for four terms, and is well placed to comment on the performance of the council in the current term.

“Frankly in my view we could have been more focused on core services,” she says.
“The 250 years celebration has been a focus and the city has benefited from the need to have many amenity projects completed for the anticipated influx of visitors.

“I hope the district does get the positive attention that has been planned for October.
“We certainly have some new infrastructure to show for the event, substantially funded by external money, which is good for the ratepayer.”

As for her hopes for the newly elected council, “I hope we will see a business-focused agenda.
“We need to look at council services in the consenting area, so those investing in business or their homes in this community are not so frustrated by the process.

“We need to look at how we spend ratepayer money and what efficiencies we can develop, and how we contract projects.
“Private enterprise is more efficient than local government processes.
“Water, wastewater, fresh water and reticulation are key council issues.

“We cannot go on making excuses that the pipes are not big enough, and not have reticulation in key suburbs like Wainui-Okitu and Makaraka.
“Wastewater and ‘where to’ will be a big conversation for the new council, so too roads, in particular local roads now we have exited from the Tairawhiti Roads initiative.

“Do people know that Waikawa Rd south out of Waipiro Bay is not negotiable even with four-wheel-drive and for about nine months each year? The three or four homeowners there have to use the beach as access.
“It is often very dangerous and a high priority for me this term is to see the road there metalled so that those families have safe and dry access.”

Mrs Seymour said climate change and what messages the council gives to our low lying townships was another important area.
“How we grow their resilience will be another important priority.”
“The community will continue to play an important part in the ‘nice to have’ items that make the city a liveable place for families to live and play.

“The extras will never be solely funded by rates.
“The community and the philanthropic sector has a big part to play in telling GDC what they believe is important and then assisting in its funding.”

As for the future, how long does she see herself continuing as a councillor?

“While I am useful and see a role for myself then I’m keen to continue to serve our community.

“My philosophy is that we are all put on this earth with a role to play and the skills to play whatever that role is.

“It’s up to us to use our skills for the betterment of children and families, the community and the environment.”

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