Lisa Reweti is the Whanganui Regional Museum public programmes presenter, and moved home after previously working at Te Papa in Wellington and as a teacher north of Auckland. She answers 10 quick-fire questions from Mike Tweed.
What would be in our own "Lisa Reweti Museum"?
I'd start with all the great pounamu and family treasures that I've already got. I'd want them safe, so I'd put them in there. I would say my dog as well, but he's a bit manky these days.
What is your favourite Whanganui activity?
Walking around the bridges. It's such a beautiful walk and there are no hills.
Which event from history would you most like to have been at?
I would go back 300 years or so in Aotearoa's history and encourage Māori to work together and look after each other, instead of fighting each other. I guess I'm a bit of bridge between Māori and Pakeha cultures, so I could prepare them for what was to come.
Why did you return to Whanganui?
I was living in Waimauku and teaching at the school there, and at Helensville School. I came back for my mum's birthday, and thought "it's time to come home". I came home in January and I wanted to start fresh in a new year. I did have to go back up north to get my three cats though. There was a lot of meowing on that journey back home.
What do you think Whanganui's best-kept secret is?
That would be the Putiki Church. It is an authentic, living building that's still doing the job it was built to do. It's stunningly beautiful and unique.
You can choose any three people from history to come to dinner. Who would they be and why?
I'd invite Āpirana Ngata, Winston Churchill and Princess Diana. That would be straight-up entertainment. There would be a lot of politics talk. Diana would keep the two men calm, they'd both be besotted.
What do you think Whanganui will look like in 50 years?
It's going to be bustling, busier and bigger, that's what's going to happen. I think that would be a great thing. It will be the whole new art hub of the country.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
If you don't want to do something, don't do it. Be the person you want to be, rather than what you think others want you to be. I was such a nerd back then, and so earnest. I used to ride my pony all around Putiki, being very nice and polite.
As a storyteller, what is your favourite story?
I'm a fan of any story that has brave, strong characters, mythical creatures, exciting events and a happy conclusion. I loved Harry Potter, so much so that I took days off work when the last book came out. I went to The Warehouse, pre-ordered it and waited for it. It took me the whole weekend to finish it, until about 3am on a Sunday morning, then I had Monday and Tuesday off so I could emotionally recover. I also love Robyn Kahukiwa's work and she has a beautiful story called Taniwha. I'm going to read that at Mythical Creatures Night [at the museum].
It's been a year since the Covid-19 lockdown. What lessons did you learn from that period?
I really enjoyed lockdown, and I wasn't all that locked in. I was still out and about with the dog down at Kōwhai Park, telling people off for littering and for biking on the footpath in my scary voice. I learned to appreciate the quiet though.