Learning golf, appearing in Auckland house sale videos and with her arm around PM John Key at a black tie function - Sarah Higgins was a dynamic high achiever who expressed joy in her accomplishments.

But the Auckland politician and real estate agent died suddenly on the weekend, drawing tributes from fellow local board politicians Joseph Bergin and Andy Baker.

Higgins, a Barfoot & Thompson agent and Franklin Local Board member, posted her photo with Key before a glittery backdrop.

"It was such a great night catching up with everyone and hanging out with friends. Loved it!" Higgins wrote on social media, wearing a black outfit, her right arm draped around Key's shoulder.

Advertisement
Sarah died suddenly on the weekend.
Sarah died suddenly on the weekend.

She told of learning golf and also appearing in videos marketing Barfoot houses for sale.

In March, she posted a stylish slow-motion black and white golf Instagram video, exhibiting a practised swing, tagged as @politicoolaniml.

"I'm just learning," she told curious friends.

She fronted Barfoot ads for properties being sold in Papakura and Karaka.

In one extensive post from June this year, she explained how much she was learning about politics.

Sarah Higgins was a dynamic high achiever who expressed joy in her accomplishments.
Sarah Higgins was a dynamic high achiever who expressed joy in her accomplishments.

"It was a sunny afternoon at the Pukekohe Anglican church over cups of tea and biscuits that I first brought this to the attention of our new MP Andrew Bayly. He called for any further policy ideas that we could develop into a remit," Higgins wrote.

"I was working in rentals at a real estate company and we had just finished a training in what to look for to spot signs of drug use at a property. The trainer kept saying "Ministry of health guidelines" in regards to testing for P.

"Having been recently elected to the local board my understanding of policy and law was growing rapidly. I questioned the trainer at the end as to whether or not there was any law or something more concrete than "guidelines". I did some quick research and found anyone could test properties for P with no qualifications and considering the ramifications it alarmed me that "Guidelines" are all that is in place.

"So when Andrew asked the question I spoke quietly, not quite sure if I really had something "what about P"? I simply asked. We went on to discuss the issue in depth and from there any chance I've had to speak at conferences and all the networking with ministers I started to lobby for a change, I even debated it with the prime minister at his visit to Pukekohe Cosy Club, he eventually agreed.

"Since then we have seen so much in the media about homes that are testing positive so many stories from family, friends and clients all the while I kept asking the question "How are they getting these results and how qualified are these people?" From there it has brought up many more questions on the issue.

"Andrew has worked very hard with me on this and we now have caucus support and a private members bill. More importantly the government is starting to ask the same question I have for well over a year.

"It was my idea. I asked the right question to the right people. This is grass roots politics, this is why I am a national party member. If a high school dropout who was working in hospo only a few years ago can influence change as big as this, why can't you?" Higgins wrote.

Friends praised her for that, saying what a positive difference she had made and to keep up the great work.

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906 (Palmerston North and Levin)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (available 24/7)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.