In a crowd, she is recognisable by her navy felt hat with a matching hatband, and accessorised with a gold Te Puna Rugby Club centennial pin.
Beth Bowden, the "pōtae [hat] princess", is red-lipped and polished, embroidering in front of an open sewing basket at her local, Nourish Cafe.
She doesn't seek the limelight but never seen without a distinctive hat, she catches the eye.
She is poised, well-spoken and unafraid of anything, least of all powerful men.
She spent 30 years cutting it in a "man's world" in Wellington, working at Parliament Buildings, Government Printing Office, Databank and the Court of Appeal before moving back to family "whenua" on Munro Rd in 2002 and becoming registrar of Tauranga District Court.
She had to learn how to deal with these five masculine environments.
"Basically, I suppose, I swallowed a few rats and decided not to even notice the tail going down," Bowden says.
She's now retired but the 66-year-old was an early adopter for the women of her time - balancing career with family.
She is and always has been, a strong feminist.
"Who isn't?," she challenges.
She did an honours degree in English and History and then a law degree while working at Parliament.
Her first paying job was with the State Services Commission, before moving to the Office of the Clerk at Parliament.
She was the second woman to be appointed in a professional role at the Office of the Clerk, the first woman to be Clerk of the Journals and Records, and the first woman to invoke professional parental leave at Parliament.
Impressive? She thinks not.
"I'm not a front runner, it's not my style. I don't push hard enough," she says, modestly.
She recalls walking the Parliament corridors with parliamentary shields, tatty, worn carpet and nicotine-stained walls. It was the 1970s and a far cry from the refurbished Parliament of today.
Husband Peter, who balances his time between Te Puna and an apartment they own on Wellington's The Terrace, worked in the Parliamentary Counsel Office.
They snuck away and got married in their lunch hour while MPs were passing the National Development Bill in 1979. She wore a simple, office-appropriate wedding dress that she made herself.
After leaving Parliament, during which time she had her first child, she went to work for Consumer Magazine as an investigating officer. Then had her second child; while also doing a stint at DataBank, where she was introduced to electronic publishing and a technique called videotex - a precursor to dial-up internet.
"It was an exciting time to be cutting it as a young woman in what was largely a man's world.
"I was unusual enough to be taken seriously. I never got knocked around or treated badly.
"I'm still really fond of some of the old hands at the printing office who in the wash of (economic) reforms after Rogernomics, got fetched up as a separate branch of the Parliamentary Counsel Office.
At the Printing Office they worked on everything from marketing the Muriwhenua Report on early attempts at land claim settlements in Northland, to a series of publications of a "high and uplifting kind" when the Rainbow Warrior got bombed and the French had to settle for recompense.
"There's never one strand in history, the ripples wash in all directions and I always felt that I was watching something really important happening, even at Databank," she says.
Before working at Databank, she briefly had a job writing speeches for Sir Geoffrey Palmer, and as the Printing Office went up for sale, got a job back at Parliament as deputy general manager which was like "running Hotel Parliament".
"It was really enjoyable, except for the odd outburst of odd behaviour from our guests," she quips.
It was in this role that she had her third child, helped with the refurbishment of Parliament and had a "ridiculous row" with Telecom after it was sold off from the State.
When electronic typesetting of legislation gained traction, Parliament was joined to the Printing Office by a "very short, very expensive length of optic fibre cable".
"It was absolutely the first of its kind."
"Here was this length of very expensive kit that had been installed on the basis that ownership wasn't an issue, because all we wanted was the convenient transmission of data to and from Parliament so we could print the law, and all of a sudden Telecom was saying: 'It's ours' and I was saying 'Oh, no it's not!'.
"For me, this started the internet age. I was one of those ordinary people who see these things right in their face and they're not the great and the good, they're ordinary folk like me.
"I used to say when I got to be a manager, particularly to young women: 'It's really like catching a wave. You have to keep your balance and be prepared to surf'."
"Everyone has their own style of finding a balance but no one wants to drown, and it does trouble me when I see the people who do find circumstances overwhelming."
How did she do it with three children?
She says the hours were variable and in the early days she and Peter tried to contrive never to be at Parliament at the same time.
"I occasionally was able to have little Nelly (first-born, Eleanor) in the office with me at night, just because no one said I couldn't, and I had this marvellous system of Barnardos homecare.
"I do remember being totally exhausted and ringing my mother one Saturday afternoon and saying: 'I have an hour to myself and that's it for the weekend' .
"My generation really thought it would be a lot more straightforward for (today's women), and it just hasn't turned out that way."
A business trailblazer she is, but she is equally passionate about the arts (she sings in German, French and Italian), and loves fashion.
It was at Parliament that her love of hats began.
Around the mid-1990s she was helping decide on a uniform for the Parliamentary Security Officers and a sample of felt hats arrived.
She was fooling around and put on a blue one and quite liked the effect.
"I've got a relationship now with Hills Hats and every few years I mortgage my soul," she laughs.
Friend and executive director of Te Tuinga Whanau Social Services Trust Tommy Wilson calls her the "pōtae princess" because of her wild and wonderful collection of hats.
In 1995, she got a scholarship to Oxford University and after that, her contract at Parliament ended and she got a job as registrar of the Court of Appeal from 1996 until 2002, before taking a job as registrar of Tauranga District Court.
In 2012 she spent two years as a national technical adviser before retiring and taking on a multitude of unpaid work for various Tauranga organisations.
"When I got (to Tauranga) in 2002, it really was like being Rick Van Winkle. I knew everything about Tauranga that happened 30 years ago.
Bowden's parents, Shirley, 89, and David Sparks, 93, are from South Africa, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1954 when Bowden was 1.
They settled on Old Main Rd (now Munro Rd) in 1956, where as local land use changed, they had the largest dairy farm in Te Puna.
Shirley's parents followed her out to New Zealand and her brother, his wife and their children followed shortly after that.
Bowden believes her strength of character and resourcefulness comes from her grandmother, Margaret Pringle, and mother Shirley, who founded Te Puna Quarry Park.
Bowden, whose house is top-to-tail with bookshelves, is writing a history of the park, which opened in 2000.
Newly retired secretary of Te Puna Quarry Park of 20 years, Dulcie Artus says that with Bowden writing it, it will be done "meticulously".
"It's the story of the hill itself, which was then worked and abandoned, and it's the story of my mother coming to that abandoned site and seeing something in it," Bowden says.
Shirley also loved fashion and taught Bowden how to sew.
"I love the way clothes express people and how fashion and style constrain that expression."
She is the founder and organiser of the biggest fabric market sale in the Bay of Plenty, FASH, and XMASH, which recycles Christmas crafts.
Her list of other community roles include: helping form Te Puna Quarry Summer Trust, where their next event is Carols at the Quarry on December 13; Baywide Community Law Services; she is a member of The Smart Growth Social Sector Forum; Tauranga Historical Society and Te Puna Memorial Hall Committee where she's working on events for next Autumn to make the new hall just as much a part of the community as the old one was; she is secretary of Te Puna Heartlands; member of Te Puna Rugby Club (she and Shirley travelled to France with them in 2015); and is a board member of Te Tuinga Whānau.
Chairman of Te Tuinga Whanau Dr Bruce Bryant says Bowden is a "wealth of wisdom" , "very considered" and "very proudly a woman".
The trust operates the garden Puku Patch from her family land, for catering business Happy Puku, which brings opportunities for people who have experienced homelessness and unemployment.
"She never ceases to amaze me with who she knows and who she works for," Bryant says.
"The real pearl in Beth is the fact that she's been a resident of Te Puna in one way or another from almost day one.
"She's used her enormous knowledge of the area, of people and connections. "
Friend Rawiri Kuka has known Bowden, who he calls "whaea pōtae Beth" since childhood. They reconnected in Te Puna when she returned from Wellington.
The recently retired chairman of 25 years of Pirirakau Incorporated Society and life member of Te Puna Rugby Club, says she has a "lovingness and givingness" about her.
"It's what we call her manaakitanga (care) and her aroha (love).
"She is always helpful, she is supporting, you can rely on her. She's one of these women who if you're giving a presentation and we have to get up and sing a waiata, she'll just jump up and start it off for you.
"She's really quite comfortable in the Māori world as well as the European world.
"She's like an old whaea to us (in Te Puna). Whaea means a mother and that's what she really is to us. She's always on boards where she helps people."
An interest in dealing with social issues and legal inequality largely stems from her time at the Court of Appeal.
"Why can't we find them before they get here?," she mused of criminal clients.
"It is really easy to live your life and just not take account of it, but I couldn't.
"I have the sort of brain that looks at the experience and asks 'how can I make sense of this?'.
"I've had a really privileged life and now I love helping others to fly."