Claire Mahon's apartment is jam packed with packing cases.
Our People arrived in their slipstream and their owner keeps apologising for the space they've gobbled up.
She apologies so often we tell her to shut up about them. Rude? No doubt, but the reality is they represent what we're there to talk to Claire about – a lifetime spent living in places other than her new/old home town. All will be revealed on that front.
For the past 15 years she's been Geneva-based, initially working with Amnesty International and other non-profit organisations, then came the United Nations.
The human rights Amnesty strives for are her profession as an international human rights lawyer, it's work that's carried her into multiple consultancy roles within the United Nations. Outside its New York headquarters, Geneva is where the bulk of its international work's based.
Two of Claire's UN years were as special adviser to Ireland's former president, Mary Robinson, who was the UN's human rights commissioner.
They've worked together to produce a book on health and human rights. Another section of her hefty CV includes time as an adjunct law professor at Michigan University.
After such big time "stuff" however can it be that Aussie-born Claire has pitched up so far away from one of the world's major power bases?
She didn't blow in by chance, it's family ties that have drawn her to what she considers to be her spiritual and ancestral home.
She has dual Australia-New Zealand citizenship through her mother, and is a great grand-daughter of Harry Ford. He established the 150 acre (60ha) farm where Fordlands now lies, for 22 unbroken years he chaired the Rotorua County Council.
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The family's original homestead remains, Claire considered buying it when it was on the market not so long ago but the timing wasn't quite right.
Growing up in Brisbane she spent a lot of her holidays on this side of the Tasman, staying with her grandparents on their farm Highlands Station close to Waimangu, absorbing the Rotorua way of life.
There's another link that binds her – her parents met here while working at Tudor Towers in its silver service restaurant hey day.
"Dad spent much of his 20s in New Zealand with his two brothers, they worked for ages with the THC group [government-owned Tourist Hotel Corporation]. They feature on a postcard that's been on display at Te Papa marking the Chateau's 90th anniversary."
Our quip that's something to write home about was irresistible but for Claire it goes far deeper than a flippant throwaway line. It's part of the Kiwi heritage that now anchors her; she's confident she's here for keeps.
Since arriving last October she's been commuting to Geneva to wind up that phase of her life. Her last trip's been made, those boxes are begging to be unpacked but Our People nabs her first, alerted that her reputation's preceded her, local organisations have already snapped her up to tap into her international know-how.
That's not quite the way Claire planned it. "My intention was to shut up, listen, get to know the community and slowly integrate."
Her long involvement with the homeless has had Visions of a Helping Hand enlist her to its board, she's been elected to chair the Labour Party's local branch and is working with Sunset Primary to become integrated into the Ka Pai Kai lunch programme.
"That's very important for me with my family history linked so closely to that area [Fordlands]."
In addition, she's a founding board member of the recently established Evolve Rotorua advocacy, defining it as "championing progressive policies and projects to build a better future for Rotorua" but scotches suggestions it will be fielding candidates at October's local body elections, or that she'll be standing.
"The council's one of the organisations we're advocating to. We've been criticised as young, inexperienced people. I take exception to that."
Claire Mahon's not one to mince words.
Her passion for human rights goes back to her Brisbane school days when she set up a local Amnesty International group.
"Injustices have always grated on me, I saw it [Amnesty] as a vehicle for pursuing things I was passionate about.
"My family were definitely working class, I was the first to go to university ... my father died when I was in my teens, I had to support myself by working multiple part-time jobs, some before I was legally allowed to."
Her Australia National University (Canberra) enrolment studying commerce and economics didn't get off to an auspicious start. "I dropped out of commerce and failed economics, got suspended."
She took a reality check, returning to work towards an arts degree with the emphasis on international relations and law, graduating with honours in the latter.
Her first legal firm "one of Melbourne's top tier institutions where I was the only one to have a student loan" settled her into mergers and acquisitions before secondment to a community law centre in one of Melbourne's most deprived areas. Time as in-house lawyer for Australia's equivalent of Fonterra followed.
"It was a really interesting grounding, I remained involved with Amnesty and the Federation of Community Legal Centres, doing legal aid domestic violence-related court work."
Then along came the headline-making Tampa refugees and the international outcry when the Howard Government refused to allow them into Australian waters.
"The minute I heard about their plight I raced to the court and volunteered as a lawyer to help fight for their asylum seeker rights, working with a leading QC, it was all pro bono. Appearing before parliamentary committees my line was 'the only detention children should be worried about is school detention'. I've always fought for the underdog, I guess it's coming from a not fabulous economic background myself."
The Kiwi in her cheered when New Zealand took 131 of the refuges, she's elated one's now a Fullbright scholar.
Her human rights work won her awards: enter her life's Swiss phase.
"They [awards] made me uncomfortable, I decided to make a move, took a six-month internship with Amnesty International in Geneva, friends fundraised for me to live in one of the world's most expensive cities for three months."
Just as that money petered out her boss resigned, Claire stepped into her shoes.
And so her international success story began.
Now in the much smaller arena she's chosen, she continues to work as an online coach, mentor and adviser.
"I've advised governments around the world about how to do things related to human rights better ... by coming home I feel as if I've filled my cup."
Born: Brisbane, 1976
Family: Mother Shirley Mahon (nee Ford) Brisbane, two brothers, niece, nephew. "One of my favourite roles in the world is being an aunt."
Education: Primary and secondary in Brisbane, Australia National University, Canberra, and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva
Interests: Human rights, politics, social justice, swimming, painting (abstract canvases), languages, is learning te reo (started video conferencing classes while in Geneva), speaks working French. "Getting to know my new community."
On her life: "I've been incredibly lucky but much of that luck has been hard-earned."
On Rotorua: "I love its vibrancy."
Personal philosophy: "Kindness should be at the heart of everything we do."