Family, banking, health and baseball are strong threads that run through the life of Jenny Warren, newly elected to the MidCentral Health District Health Board.
Jenny and husband Hendrix are born and bred Levinites, but spent considerable time working in Wellington. Jenny was a banking manager there for a decade and when they returned home, banking called again, at least for a while.
They came home to give their kids the benefit of being close to their grandparents, who live here.
"Whānau is really important to both of us."
She said the birth of her first child happened at the time of the closing of Levin's hospital and the building of the health centre and sparked her interest in maternal healthcare. She was asked to join a maternity reference group shortly after. That one thing led to many others in the health sector and a change in career.
Thirteen years ago she retrained in maternal health in a non-clinical role and currently leads MidCentral Health's pregnancy and parenting information and education service, which works across the district. It is contracted through Barnardos.
Because of her job she already has many contacts throughout the district and in the run-up to the election she travelled and spoke widely.
Through the years she has also found time to volunteer for many positions such as the community patrol, a youth music programme, was chair of the PTA and involved with Behind the Hedges, and chaired the board of Koputaroa School.
"I purposely worked only 25 hours a week to allow time for other interests," she said.
She served on the Mortality Morbidity Working Group, the Health Quality and Safety Commission and the ICU commission, the Ministry of Health's Maternity Information Systems Steering Group on how patients can access their maternity records safely online, and the Maternity Clinic Governance Group.
"Through these positions I have gained great insights into the pressures facing the health system," she said. "It was great working with multidisciplinary teams from around the country."
Her term as a board member of the DHB does not start until December 1.
"We need to address some major issues, such as the physical constraints of Palmerston North Hospital and the inequalities some groups in the community (migrant, Pacifica and Māori patients) face need to be reduced. They really concern me."
Another issue for her in the primary health care throughout the far flung corner of the district.
"There are serious workforce issues. Getting more GPs in Levin for example or into rural communities is so hard."
Jenny is also perhaps Levin's number one baseball mum, with two boys and a husband hooked on the sport. They have a batting cage in the backyard and a baseball diamond too. Son Flynn is already part of a national selection for his age-group and has been to the US for tournaments.
"The boys practice 10-15 hours a week and I really enjoy watching them doing it. They are so passionate. In the summer they practice many more hours."
So how come this Kiwi whānau with Dutch and Māori roots is so caught up in baseball, a typically American pastime? All it took was one baseball game, said Jenny.
A family holiday to the United States in 2015 got husband and boys hooked, she said. "They went to a major baseball league game and came back ecstatic. When we got home Hendrix started a baseball club."
They have found that baseball is so much more than sport.
"The great thing is that baseball has clear pathways to careers as well as scholarships."
So in between her job and serving on the DHB board Jenny Warren is also serving as a driver for the wider baseball team, a job she'd love to have help with as the Levin Hustle has several teams now which need to get to games regularly.