Dana Wensley



Tasman District Councillor


Dana Wensley

Dana Wensley

I was brought up with the philosophy that if you don't like something you get involved and try to change it. My interest in politics stems from having a politically astute mother (she was my first campaign manager!), a father who served on the Tasman District Power Board, and a great great grandfather (George Lumsden) who was twice elected Mayor of Invercargill, and represented the Invercargill electorate in Parliament.

I stood for election to represent all groups in our society whose voices are not heard. I endeavour every day to be the 'go-between' that links Council with the community. I am most effective when I hear stories that empower me to bring the community voice to the Council Chamber. Every day I strive to make Council accountable, transparent, and every decision I make has people in this community at its heart.

My husband is Canadian, and we lived in Canada for six years, but as a non-citizen I was unable to vote in either the provincial, federal, or even local school board elections. During this time it became important for me to have my voice heard via other means, and it was here that I began writing opinion pieces that were picked up across Canada on issues of politics and society.

When I was elected to Tasman District Council in 2016, I already had governance experience at both a local and central government level. The confidence that gave me was integral to my achieving early changes I am most proud of, particularly allowing youth councillors to sit around the Council table, and the advances I have made in advocating for the environment and the older population.

I was born and brought up in Motueka, and those roots are always important to me. I continue to volunteer for Friends of the Motueka Estuaries and the Top of the South Writers to promote literature and education in the region. My Ph.D. in law allows me to engage with the commercial aspects of Council, where the pressing needs of the day are to keep rates affordable while delivering services that allow our communities to grow and thrive. As I watch my son grow up in this region I am motivated every day to leave it a better place for him and the generation to come.

This was published in: Women Decision-Makers Nelson and Tasman 1944 -2018, p. 37. Compiled by Dr Shelley Richardson, Elaine Henry, Gail Collingwood, Hilary Mitchell. 

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