Nelson City Councillor 1977- 1980
My husband Richard and I were very involved with the Values Party (forerunner of the Green Party). I was asked if I would allow my name to go forward in the Council elections "just to show people that the Values Party is up and running." I was assured that I wouldn't get in, and why:- "Firstly, Helen, you're a POM, and secondly, they don't like people to declare their political allegiance on the ballot sheet."
It seemed quite a sensible idea to me, that people should know that I was a member of the Values Party. If they didn't know me, they would at least know something about the sort of things I was interested in. But I was flabbergasted to scrape in, in 13th out of 14.1 sat round the vast table in the Council Chambers, surrounded by gruff men muttering "Before we had political interference on the Council..." while casting poisonous looks in my direction.
But they gave me committees I was interested in - the beloved library and labelling of walkways. Suddenly, after years of living in Nelson and loving it, I started to feel as if I really BELONGED.
I only stood for one term, and can't remember why this was. I may have become ill. Or it may be about then that I started my degree in nursing. (My first degree was in Spanish and drama which I taught for a while.)
This was published in: Women Decision-Makers Nelson and Tasman 1944 -2018, p.44. Compiled by Dr Shelley Richardson, Elaine Henry, Gail Collingwood, Hilary Mitchell.
Updated May 5, 2020
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Further sources - Helen Davies
Richardson, S., Henry, E., Collingwood, G. Mitchell, H. (2018). Women decision-makers Nelson and Tasman 1944-2018. Nelson, New Zealand