Upper Harbour stalwarts step down from politics

Publish Date : 21 Sep 2022
Upper Harbour stalwarts step down from politics
Margaret Miles, QSM and Lisa Whyte.
Upper Harbour stalwarts step down from politics 1
Brian Neeson.

The decision of three local government stalwarts not to seek re-election has cost Upper Harbour Local Board more than 60 years of experience.

Local board Chairperson Lisa Whyte stands down after 18 years, her Deputy Margaret Miles after 30 years, and member Brian Neeson after 15 years.

All three served four local board terms, Neeson and Miles were the first co-chairs in 2010, followed by Whyte and Neeson in 2013, after which Miles and Whyte shared the role for two terms.

Those who have worked alongside the trio say their commitment to positively influencing outcomes while working as a team and representing their community, has been a trademark of their service.

Miles was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in 2018 for services to local government and the community.

She says it’s been a privilege to serve others, citing the 2017 opening of the Albany Stadium Pool as a highlight, coming after 20 years of collaboration with others to complete a project that originated with North Shore City Council.

Whyte, passionate about sport and its community role, also cites the pool opening as a highlight, listing it alongside Northern Corridor Improvements funded projects that include the area’s world-class National Hockey Centre, the North Harbour BMX facility, and Wainoni Park equestrian centre.

She says providing community-run facilities such as Pokapū ā-Hapori o Ōkahukura / Albany Community Hub, Headquarters and Sunderland lounge for Hobsonville Point were equally satisfying.

For Neeson, creating assets that gave the community access to facilities for sports, cultural and leisure activities was always a standout, and the reward was seeing local residents turn those assets into well-used and supported cornerstones of community life.

While people rarely knew the inner workings, what went on behind the scenes or the effort behind making things happen, all three say their time at the helm was about a strong and unified team that represented the community’s best interests.

They thanked the many community groups for their contributions in Upper Harbour’s sporting, community, business and environmental space.

Summing it up, Whyte says: “But I believe leadership is about doing the hard right thing, rather than the often easier popular one. It is also about doing the right thing even if no one is watching – that is what I believe we are elected to do on behalf of our communities.”

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