Every Monday, the Chronicle fires 10 questions at a Whanganui local. This week Mike Tweed talks to Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui's new communications manager, Leigh-Marama McLachlan.
Leigh-Marama is the former Māori News correspondent at RNZ and returned to her hometown of Whanganui with her whānau in 2018.
You're hosting a dinner party and can invite any three people from history to attend. Who would they be, and why?
You probably mean famous people but, to be honest, I'd rather invite my brother and sister who passed away.
I never got to know them and I would just love the chance to spend time and laugh with them. I also recently learned of my tūpuna, Haimona Te Utupoto, who was a tohunga for moko kauae, and I'd love to cook him tea.
What is one piece of advice you would give your 20-year-old self?
Get your OE out of the way before you have babies.
What is your favourite thing to do in Whanganui?
My favourite thing to do in Whanganui is hang out with my family at my parents' place, always.
How do you think Whanganui has changed over the years?
Whanganui is a really beautiful place. The walkway along the awa has been a great addition here. It's also nice to see fewer empty shops up the (Victoria) Ave.
If you had to live in another country, where would it be and why?
I wouldn't want to live anywhere else right now with Covid-19 hammering other countries but, if that wasn't the case, perhaps Tahiti. It looks beautiful there and we have stories about our tūpuna having links to Rangiātea in Tahiti.
Who, outside of your family, would you say is your greatest inspiration?
I can't think of anyone in particular outside my whānau. I'm inspired by other Māori women who are working hard and raising babies.
Would you rather sing along to every song you heard, or dance to every song you heard?
One album is stuck on repeat in your office, which would you choose?
I don't listen to albums, I'm so inept when it comes to music. Something R&B most likely.
What is one aspect of Whanganui that you think could be improved?
It would be great to have a few more restaurants and bars – a better nightlife.
Which event from history would you have most liked to attend?
The signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.