Jocelyn (Jo) Raine


Waimea County Councillor 1986 - 1989 Nelson City Councillor 1989 - 2003 Deputy Mayor 1998 - 2001

Jocelyn (Jo) Raine was elected to the Waimea County Council as the Whangamoa riding representative in 1986. Boundary changes that were part of a restructuring of local government in March 1989 meant she became a Nelson City Councillor that year. She served the city of Nelson for 13 years, including a term as deputy mayor (1998-2001). Born in Whangarei in 1934, Jo's family moved to war-torn southern England in 1939. There, her father joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. She later wrote of the period: 'From the ages of 5 -12 [1939-1946] I lived in 13 houses, went to 12 schools, starved, and was bombed or shot out of most of them.'1 Returning to New Zealand after the war, she attended Paraparaumu Primary School and New Plymouth Girls' High School, before moving to Nelson with her mother in the early 1950s. She married Glyn Raine, a farmer and the pair settled down in Champion Road, Richmond, farming in the Richmond Hills, caring for her sick father and raising four children. Deeply affected by her childhood war-time experiences, Jo was profoundly grateful for  the safe haven Nelson provided.

Jo Raine

Jo Raine 14 September 1995. Nelson Provincial Museum, Nelson Mail Collection: C28903

Her 17 year long service as a councillor began by chance in 1986 when she was 52. The day before nominations for the Waimea County Council elections closed, she was persuaded to throw her hat into the ring, did so and found herself elected unopposed. She was appointed to the finance subcommittee and elected to the Transition Committee established to oversee the establishment of the Tasman District Council. During this time she was vocal in pointing up the social costs being borne by families as the profound economic and political changes of the 1980s became evident locally: unemployment, crime, homelessness and widespread family distress.

As a Nelson City Councillor from 1989, Jo was one of the highest polling councillors in successive elections and was appointed deputy mayor 1998-2001. Her interests ranged from rural concerns and sewerage systems, to care of families and the elderly, and she increasingly focused upon planning, resource consent and finance. As Chair of the Finance Committee and deputy mayor, she recognised where influence lay: 'I've made a point of always being on the finance committee, because no one can do anything if they don't get the finance'.2 One of her goals was budgeting for low and affordable rate increases. Describing her style as one of commonsense, practicality, efficiency and honesty, she acknowledged that diplomacy was not her strong point.3 Her attitude to gender issues was uncomplicated: 'one cannot brood about being a woman or not. It is the job that is important. Women get on with it. They give it their best...people respect you if you do the job', she told journalist Jessica Le Bas.4 She was, however, unhappy that more women were not elected in the 1992 local elections, especially on the eve of the Suffrage centennial: 'it would have been gratifying to have had more women elected...I am disappointed at the lack of women's response in voting for other women'.5     

Jo died while in office in 2003. Her funeral service was held at Christ Church Cathedral, Nelson. A magnolia tree planted in the grounds of Broadgreen Historic House commemorates her many years of service as the council's representative on the Broadgreen Society. (1934 - 2003)

This was published in: Women Decision-Makers Nelson and Tasman 1944 -2018, p. 54. Compiled by Dr Shelley Richardson, Elaine Henry, Gail Collingwood, Hilary Mitchell.

 Suffrage 125 logo for prow


Sources used in this story

  1. 'Jo Raine to 'Mr Frizzell' 12/9/92, private collection.
  2. Collett, Geoff (1998, December 9) Hard Rained. Nelson Mail, , p.17.
  3. lbid.
  4. Le Bas, Jessica (1997) Women in Local Government Top of the South' ms, private collection.
  5. Jo Raine (1993)  'Women Councillors: Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council', Nelson Provincial Museum Archives: qMSWOM, NPM995.82.3.

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Further sources - Jocelyn (Jo) Raine


  • Richardson, S., Henry, E., Collingwood, G. Mitchell, H. (2018). Women decision-makers Nelson and Tasman 1944-2018. Nelson, New Zealand