By Jill Nicholas
She's been a GP, a DHB member, an MP, held the role of EEOC, is now an MTS and, this week became an MNZM.
That's a whole heap of alphabet soup to un-jumble but before we do let's decipher who "she" is.
Answer: Jackie Blue who, last October, became "one of us" when she and husband, Dave Miller, made Tarawera their forever home.
Jackie's Rotorua connections run deep. Her mother's second marriage was to well-known local real estate agent Bill McHale, giving Jackie a whole heap of step-relatives she's closely bonded to.
But back to those acronyms – GP and MP are self-explanatory, of course, DHB represents District Health Board, but what of EEOC, MTS and MNZM? The former's Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner. With MTS Our People's used journalistic licence to make it up, it's our shorthand for massage therapy student; MNZM is a band new addition. Her appointment as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit was announced in Monday's Queen's Birthday Honours list, it acknowledges her services to women and the state. To quote Jackie directly, it's "blown her away".
Massage is her latest career choice in a life chocker with seemingly diverging careers yet, when the dots are joined, become linked. "Dots are joined" are words she's borrowed from Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, a man she retains huge respect for.
She enrolled in Toi Ohomai's massage course in March, her eyes set not on massages of the self-indulgent kind but those which reap therapeutic medical benefits.
Her antenna is tuned towards its use on oncology patients in the US, especially during chemotherapy. She acknowledges time will tell if the dots will join to carry her down that route.
In summary that's Jackie Blue today, now we invite her to step back and talk us through the life that's brought her to this juncture.
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Her father was a dentist and she was an avid teenage fan of the 1970s Dr Kildare TV series, so she was motivated to obtain a Bachelor of Science, majoring in chemistry. (BSc is another acronym to add to her quiver).
She was 16 when her university years began. Once graduated she turned to medicine, studying at Otago Medical School before transferring to its Auckland counterpart.
This followed failing her second year "in a stunning way . . . I'd been partying madly".
There was to be a second fail in her fifth year. "I'd taken up Bridge, was playing in tournaments around the country. She took a reality check, re-sat exams and became Dr Blue later than she'd aimed for.
"I thought I was the dumbest doctor in New Zealand to stuff my studies up twice."
Jackie talks openly about a "charming man" she gave several years of her life to. "Things soured, he beat me up."
It's an experience that's cemented her commitment to the anti-violence movement.
Within weeks she'd met the boat builder who's been her husband for more than 30 years.
"I'd never have done what I have without his support, he's my absolute rock."
General practice followed her house surgeon days.
"I had fancied paediatrics but the 24/7 hours entailed are very hard mentally and physically."
Seven years into general practice a breast cancer surgeon approached her. "He arrived out of the blue, asked if I'd train as a breast physician. I was fascinated, took a leap of faith and loved it."
Training was on the job and with the Australasian Society of Breast Physicians, she subsequently became president and made a commitment to extend the existing breast screening programme.
She was lobbying Labour's health minister Annette King on the topic when she had a chance meeting with then National Party's deputy leader, Bill English via his doctor wife, Mary.
"I'd never been at all political but joined the [National] party. Bill had taken it to one of its worst defeats, I wanted to support him, I loved being part of that party tribal thing."
Her election to Auckland's DHB gave her a profile that brought the suggestion she stand as an MP.
"I said 'I'm too busy' but began to think I'd give it a go. When I told my mother she roared down the phone "no, don't'."
Jackie ignored the maternal advice, stood in the 2005 election in Mt Roskill against then cabinet minister Phil Goff. "I took a thrashing but just scraped in on National's list."
Naturally, she was recruited for the health team under its health spokesman, former Bay of Plenty MP Tony Ryall.
The battle to make the drug Herceptin available to qualifying breast cancer patients was "bubbling away".
"In the 2008 election, I campaigned vigorously for it to become fully funded for women with a particular type of breast cancer . . . it was the proudest moment of my life when we succeeded."
Jackie enjoyed being in opposition. "It's where you get involved in the political nitty-gritty." She chaired three cross-party committees working closely with Labour cabinet minister, now Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick. They share mutual passions.
Once National was in power Jackie was relegated to the back benches, a place that lacked appeal. "There you're told to shut up and support the Minister."
A nudge towards applying for the Equal Opportunities role with the Human Rights Commission was timely. Prime Minister John Key gave it the thumbs-up.
"For that interview, I studied my heart out like I'd never studied before."
It paid off, she was appointed EEOC in 2013 for a five-year term.
"My appointment became quite controversial, I was accused of political cronyism, shoulder taping, union leader [the late] Helen Kelly gave me a really hard time but later apologised."
Jackie relished the role.
"It was all about being fearless in the workplace, upholding workers' and women's rights, it was an amazing job to have."
Her commitment to society remains, she's deputy chair of the New Zealand Blood Services Board. "It played a huge role in the Christchurch massacres, speedily directing blood products from around the country."
She's thrilled Organ Donation NZ is on the brink of joining forces with blood services.
Jackie was a newbie politico when her bill advocating a legally binding national organ donation register was drawn from the ballot box. It was defeated.
She sees donors as unsung heroes. "We need far more of them."
Having achieved so much professionally why is she not taking a shot at retirement?
"After we settled in at Tarawera I became bored, cranky, saw the Toi Ohomai massage diploma advertised - massage brings me back to my health roots."
"Going through life I've never had a five or 10 year plan, I've simply taken up opportunities and grabbed hold of them."
JACKIE BLUE MNZM
Born: Hamilton, 1956
Education: Matamata, St Heliers Primaries, Selwyn College, Auckland University, Otago, Auckland med schools
Family: Husband Dave Miller, daughters Jessie (Hamilton), Paddy (Wellington)
Interests: Family, massage, audiobooks "A bit of vege gardening", Zonta club member
On her life: "I've had some amazing opportunities that make me feel humble, fortunate."
On Rotorua: "I love Rotorua because you feel welcome here."
Personal philosophy: "Our life experiences, our life paths are our own."