Former Green Party chief of staff Tory Whanau is stepping out from behind the scenes of politics in a bid to become a politician herself.
Tonight she is officially announcing she's running for Wellington's mayoralty.
Whanau has lived in a state house, won Lotto, negotiated with New Zealand First and now she's the first to confirm a bid for the city's top job, with incumbent Andy Foster still not ruling anything in or out.
Whanau is a well-known name within the Wellington beltway but is a relatively unknown face to the majority of voters.
That's something she's aware of, which is why she's announcing her candidacy now- just less than a year out from local body elections so people have time to get to know her.
She's running as an independent and a mayor or nothing campaign. At this point Whanau doesn't have a key financial backer.
Speaking with the Herald at home in Ngaio earlier today, Whanau is frustrated at where the city is at.
Some of her top priorities will be addressing people feeling unsafe in the city, the housing crisis, and sewage on the streets
Right on cue, Wellington Water tweeted during the interview that crews were responding to a possible wastewater overflow in the neighbouring suburb of Khandallah.
"I think many of us want Wellington to be its best self," Whanau said.
"To do that, I think it needs a real new type of leadership and that's something I can bring.
"It's time for a strong wahine toa to really take that leadership position and what I'm keen to bring to the council and the city is that real sense of whanaungatanga - how we connect as people, as a community, and we work together to get things done."
Whanau will be launching her full policy platform in April next year when the campaign heats up.
She grew up in Cannons Creek in Porirua.
"We lived in a state house so things were hard going when I was young. Mum and dad worked really really hard, but we had very low incomes at the time, so we were on food stamps and things like that, but their hard work ethic really got us through."
The family then moved to Taranaki when Whanau was about 8 years old to reconnect with their whakapapa and be more involved with their iwi. After attending boarding school, Whanau landed back in Wellington to study film and media studies at Victoria University and has lived in the capital ever since.
While knowing what it was like to struggle financially, she also won Lotto in 2002, allowing her to study without financial pressure. She has been married, but is now single and lives with her dog, Teddy.
If she won the mayoralty, she would be Wellington's first Māori mayor.
"It would be very humbling, it would be an honour and I really wouldn't wear that lightly."
Whanau has most recently spent six years working for the Green Party. First as digital director and then as chief of staff.
So Wellingtonians can expect her politics to be left-leaning, although she says she's very pragmatic and knows how to foster relationships with those from both ends of the political spectrum.
Whanau was part of the Green Party's coalition negotiating team in 2017.
She considers those relationship skills would come in handy in terms of managing the various factions and personalities around the council table.
"A core part of my role was working on the coalition between the Labour Party and New Zealand First- it doesn't get more diverse than that - and I think I can really use that skill to bring our council together."
Asked what she thinks of Foster, Whanau says he's a lovely man, a hard worker, and respects the fact he has been on the council for a long time.
But she argues the council needs different leadership and someone who can bring people together and get projects moving.
She has loved working behind the scenes launching policies and campaigns for other people, but recently she's been asked whether she'd consider being a politician herself.
In July rumours were rife Whanau was considering a bid for the mayoralty and the Herald reported she wouldn't rule it in or out.
Having now made a decision to run, she admits she's nervous, but in an excited way.
"It's quite wild."
Do you like the bucket fountain? "Controversial! Look it's quite kitsch and its part of our history, but I'm not a huge fan."
Do you support the Government's three waters reform agenda? "Yes, I do."
What mode of transport do you use to get around town? "Scooters."
What do you love about Wellington? "We're the capital city and that's so exciting as a natural politico, I think that gives us that edge."
What do you hate about Wellington? "I'm not a fan of sewage on our streets."
Do you think the library should be strengthened or rebuilt from scratch? "I'm keen to look at lower-cost options of even moving it to existing buildings, but the most important thing is seeing a library as soon as possible."
Has Absolutely Positively Wellington done its dash as the city's slogan? "No I don't think it has. I think it seems a bit tired currently because Wellington's not its best self, much like some of the projects and our community vibe in the city, it just needs a second wind."
Which Let's Get Wellington Moving option do you prefer? "I'm keen to hear what Wellingtonians think, but on the face of it I think option four seems to be the most climate-friendly and lower-cost option."
Should development at Shelly Bay be allowed to go ahead? "I don't want to wade into iwi issues and whanau disputes, so that's not for me to say."
If you had to make a bet, when do you think Transmission Gully will open? "I couldn't say. I'm not a betting person."
Do you think it will open this side of Christmas? "No."
Is Mittens the cat ridiculous or does he add value to the city? "It's great to have a cat with such a following, but I'm very much a dog person and given Mittens is moving to Auckland, I think it's time for someone else to take the reins."
Should Minister Nanaia Mahuta have appointed a Crown observer at Wellington City Council earlier this year? "I couldn't say."
Should Wellington City have residential water meters? "I'm keen to hear what Wellingtonians think, my concern is the equity and how that is charged. I would want to ensure that those on lower incomes aren't impacted significantly."