Rawinia Henderson was just 6-weeks-old when she arrived in Stratford and now she is running for mayor.

"Running for mayor isn't about me," she said. "It's so much bigger than that. There are so many more people behind this than just little old me standing here."

In her video interview with Local Focus, Henderson describes herself as an active citizen within the Whakaahurangi area of Stratford.

"I do have a lot of governance roles within the community both locally and nationally, but to come and bring my experience home was really important."


Henderson wants to see the region be the best it can be, and is in no doubt that the health of the community relies on individual wellbeing.

"What I propose for my people in Stratford, for our community, is that I look at it from a social perspective.

"What I find in our community is we lack the connection that we used to have 20-30 years ago. You used to know your neighbour. You knew the people who walked down the street. You know them by name."

Henderson's focus is to strengthen that connection.

"If we keep our mind, our hinengaro really strong and really healthy, then we can keep our tinana healthy. And if we keep our tinana healthy, we can keep our whānau happy and healthy.

"And in turn, once your family are healthy, once you're healthy, everything around you seems to lift. The spirit of my papakāinga, the spirit of my home just lifts its mana and you can look at it from a community perspective as well."

Taking collective responsibility is something Henderson says will take pressure off Stratford's limited resources.

"We can't keep thinking that there's a quick fix around the corner. We can't expect our government to be there and say 'yes I'm going to do this for you'. We can't expect the doctors to cure cancer tomorrow.


"We have to take ownership of what we can do step by step to maintain a healthy environment in which we live in."

Henderson believes for the remote region to survive and prosper, the economy needs to diversify.

"Let's look at the things we can do to build on our tourism, let's open that door. They spend money in our restaurants, our petrol stations and our hotels.

"We are the gateway to Taranaki - so why aren't we embracing that more?"

Henderson says she wants to offer change and represent those she hears from regularly who currently feel unrepresented.

"My awareness is a lot more from a community perspective - common sense approach."

Made with funding from