Steve Chadwick is someone you’d always notice. She stands out whether it’s talking to public meetings or just walking through the Government Gardens.
Steve Chadwick seems to have had that sleek, silver fringe and large cartoon-worthy glasses for as long as I’ve been going over to Rotorua for tourism meetings. In her distinctive, vibrant and often floral duster coats – she looks like an affluent rural woman up to town for the day. She’s a grandmother but this grandmother is seeking another term as the Mayor of perhaps New Zealand’s most important tourism destination.
During the time Chadwick’s been Mayor I’ve seen a downtrodden, sad and shabby inner-Rotorua revitalised and transformed. I’ve also met the Council Arts Advisor, artist and muralist, Marc Spijkerbosch who, in conjunction with the Rotorua Council’s development levy policy, has implemented a comprehensive public arts portfolio for the town and surrounds.
There is an interview with Chadwick published on the Rotorua Daily Post site. We’re not sharing this for “political reasons” we’re sharing it on ARTbop because Chadwick’s another example of a highly successful, mature woman tearing to shreds that formerly required cloak of invisibility. One of the aspects of this conversation and peek into Chadwick’s home was the personal preponderance of art throughout the house. In one conversation I had with her she asked me “do you know my brother?” (he’s an internationally known New Zealand artist I know of but don’t know).
On the last occasion I met her, Chadwick was walking through the fringe of the Government Gardens alone on her way to a Destination Rotorua tourism meeting. No support staff. No umbrella holder. No security. The black duster coat partly covers a yellow/orange blouse screaming sunshine and she’s wearing bright red shoes and matching lipstick.
We were both early so we talked. Chadwick epitomises that personally warm, conversationally open, and deceptively engaging New Zealand politician. I’ve found many local and central government politicians of my generation have the same “common touch” which makes Jacinda Ardern so appealing across the contemporary political spectrum. I say Chadwick is “deceptively engaging” because her laid back social manner masks a superb level of professionalism and competency. More than just being an outstandingly successful mature woman and public office holder – the woman is no slouch.
Of course, that manner’s not confined to females – Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless and Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber while not as colourfully plumed as Chadwick, are both always incredibly approachable and “real.” I wonder where else in the world would I be able to bounce up to Brownless at an Art Gallery event to share my distress at my just had conversation with a female street-sleeper* or sit for an afternoon with Webber and his wife Carole in a local cafe community issues meeting.
I hope you enjoy this insight into Rotorua’s Mayor Steve Chadwick. It was undertaken by Gavin Ogden, Video Journalist Rotorua, New Zealand Herald Local Focus and was published in the Rotorua Daily Post online website on the 20th April 2019 at 9.30am. Click on the red-lettered link below to see and hear the conversation.
* With financial support from the Tauranga City Council, commercial interests and the wider community Tauranga now has a night shelter for women experiencing issues finding accommodation. You can sponsor a room in Awhina House for $4,000. a year. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=12203738
Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing Editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
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COMING UP ON ARTbop
We have a conversation with artisan, bespoke silver jeweller Barb Hudson of BarisaA visit to Morrinsville A day out at the Cambridge Autumn Festival and the Maadi Cup street paradeDoing the Lions Te Puna Quarry Autumn Festival with artist and creative Nicci Baxter
And my Sunday down on the Strand at the Jazz Festival Afternoon tea at the ever-consistent and yummy The Dry Dock!
Friends of the Tauranga Art GalleryJoin artist and long-time Friends of Tauranga Art Gallery member Doreen McNeill at The Incubator, next Wednesday 24 April, to celebrate the opening of an exhibition of her new works and her 90th birthday
Gary Baseman & Friends at the Tauranga Art Gallery
The Art Lounge is now located in Willow Street next to High St Boutique. You’ll also find The Nourished Eatery and the Tauranga Art Gallery. The Art Lounge is a private dealer gallery where you will find a wide selection of art and creativity. They also have workshops and art focused lessons. https://www.theartloungenz.com