Born in Porirua in 1972, I was the first child of Bryan and Lesley Patrick, a banker and a school teacher. Before I turned one, we shifted to Fiji where my dad worked in the Bank of New Zealand in Suva and my sister Megan was born.
We shifted back to NZ and settled in Palmerston North just as I turned four. After a few years, we shifted to Takaka in Golden Bay - this turned out to be a significant influence on the career directions for both my sister and me as we spent most weekends on family adventures exploring the outdoors.
Our family arrived in Whanganui part-way through 1984 and I started at Wanganui Intermediate School. Whanganui Girls’ College followed, with good grades, rowing, basketball and drama club. Part-time and local summer jobs included Foodtown, Jack Hodge Music Shop, Windermere Gardens, Pacific Helmets and the Red Lion.
Before going to Massey in 1992, I took a year off, based with my uncle in Hamburg, Germany, and travelled around Europe. I gained a BSc in zoology and environmental science from Massey then did a postgraduate Diploma of Journalism at Canterbury in 1995.
My first permanent job was as a reporter for the Evening Standard in Palmerston North. Then I joined the Department of Conservation (DOC) in Whanganui working on the controversial Kaimanawa horses programme. In 1998, I shifted to Wellington to work on national media for DOC then became the Conservation Awareness Manager in 2000 at the age of 27. This also involved being a trustee on national business-conservation partnerships like the original Kiwi Recovery Trust and Project Crimson.
After seven years in Wellington, I was appointed DOC’s Ruapehu Area Manager and shifted to Ohakune, where I stayed for two years.
In 2007 I met Michael and, not long after, followed him to Perth, Western Australia, where I worked at the Rottnest Island Authority leading the environment team. After a year, I joined AECOM, a global engineering consultancy, where I provided sustainability advice into road construction projects and project-managed environmental impact assessments and approvals – plus took maternity leave twice with the arrival of Mitchell in 2009 and Riley in 2011.
We shifted back to Whanganui in 2011 and enjoyed living there for two years, with my parents five minutes down the road. I worked part-time from home for AECOM leading their Corporate Social Responsibility programme across Australia and New Zealand, plus their Environmental Management System, and volunteered at Plunket.
In 2013, I decided to stand for Whanganui District Council but a move to Oakura meant those plans went on hold and instead I started writing a weekly column for the Wanganui Chronicle, The Glass Half-Full.
I joined the Ākina Foundation, a charity leading the development of social enterprise in New Zealand, in 2015 and started working as their communications manager and acting partnerships director.
Then, in early 2016, after two years in that wonderful coastal Taranaki village, I shifted back home to Whanganui with my two boys, and my job, after an amicable separation.
I worked part-time for Te Kaahui o Rauru, providing environmental management and business development services, after taking leave without pay from Ākina for the election campaign period. I have been a trustee on the Whanganui Women’s Network and Sustainable Whanganui and continue as an active supporter.
In October 2016, I was elected as a councillor to Horizons Regional Council, one of two Whanganui representatives. I am the Horizons rep on the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) strategy group, Te Kōpuka, and am on the Bushy Park Trust.
From 2017 onwards, I co-founded Thrive Whanganui, which was registered as an independent charity in late 2018. It now has seven trustees (including myself) and three special advisors, and is undertaking a range of activities to grow social enterprise across the region. We ran a successful Thrive Expo conference and workshops in 2018, coordinated a mentoring pilot for community leaders with the Mentoring Foundation, joined the Ākina Foundation regional hubs pilot, and securing Whanganui as one of a small number of sites in a national pilot of The Generator.
I am an active Green Party member and have been a co-convenor of the Business and Professional Greens Network, the Learning and Development Committee, and the Te Awa magazine board. I was the Green Party's candidate for the Whanganui electorate in the 2017 general election.