A recent visit to Pahiatua by a Labour Party delegation turned out to be a trip down memory lane.
Wairarapa Labour candidate Kieran McAnulty was accompanied by MPs Annette King and Trevor Mallard. They met with Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis.
Annette King graduated as a dental nurse in 1967. Her father had been transferred from the South Island to Pahiatua to the old P & T where he was a lines overseer and her mother was in the toll room. Annette was only 19 years old and had to be transferred to live with her parents.
She followed Diane Holyoake, daughter of former Governor-General Sir Keith Holyoake, spending six months as a junior dental nurse at Pahiatua Dental Clinic.
The clinic had 13 rural schools contributing and the nurses had to check the children's teeth every six months. Judge David Carruthers was a newly graduated lawyer in 1967 and both he and Mrs King joined the Pahiatua Repertory Society and were in a play together.
"We still chuckle about it when we meet," said Mrs King.
She remembers her mother driving an old Holden "at around 15 miles per hour" through the Gorge. "They were good memories."
She then transferred to Nelson to be with her boyfriend, who became her husband.
Trevor Mallard's father's best man was principal at Konini School and Mr Mallard came up for weekends and holidays where he got to shift sheep on the farm next to the school.
"The dairy factory was going then. Konini was a buzzing little place," he said.
Kieran McAnulty was recently given a list position of 37.
"I am thrilled to get this position on the Labour Party list. It is a vote of confidence in myself, but also highlights how seriously the Labour Party takes rural and provincial affairs. Our community is facing so many tough issues that I hear and see every week as I'm out and about across the region. We're being left behind by this government, and that's why I'm campaigning to change the government.
"This list position means I have a chance of getting into Parliament as a List MP. But my main priority is and always will be to win this seat and represent the people of Wairarapa and Tararua in Parliament.
"Wairarapa needs an electorate MP who will champion this region every possible opportunity - one who is loud and proud Wairarapa.
"We need an MP that is visible, an MP who is actually out and about talking to people about the things that are important to them. It doesn't matter how many list MPs this region has, without an electorate MP who is effective we are missing out.
"I've worked hard in my role on the Labour Party's Policy Council to help develop policies that address the issues faced in areas like Wairarapa.
"That means policies that promote regional development, value-added primary production, the creation of good jobs and improved funding for Health and Education in rural areas.
"That's why I'll be asking for a vote for me this election, and also for the Labour party. I want to see Wairarapa and Tararua thrive."