Every Monday, the Chronicle fires 10 questions at a Whanganui local. This week Mike Tweed finds out more about new Whanganui & Partners chief executive Hannah Middleton.
What is your favourite thing to do in Whanganui?
Being an active person I absolutely love going for a run and exploring all the different pathways and going around the bridges. My ritual in the weekend is going to Article to get a coffee and going to the markets. You can't beat that. My third favourite thing would be going to the beach for a swim. I've already had my first dip out at Castlecliff in the second week of November. It was warm as, and then you can't beat going to the Citadel.
Which event in history would you most like to have been at?
There are so many historic moments, like being there when New Zealand was first discovered and seeing its ultimate preserved state before it was inhabited. Being around in the late 1800s when women got the right to vote would be another one. A bit of a lighter one would be being a part of the Team New Zealand crew that won the 1995 America's Cup.
What's the most difficult thing to coach in netball?
Even just learning the rules is ridiculous. I love the game, but teaching anyone the rules about where to go and things is crazy hard. In terms of skills, I'm going to give the shooters some credit here and say that teaching someone the skill of shooting is pretty hard.
How do you think Whanganui could improve?
That's hard, because there's lots of things that I think are on the improve. I definitely think continuing to improve that vibrancy of our CBD and the lower end of Victoria Ave. There's so many cool things popping up in terms of places to eat and shop, but it's so important over the next wee while to main that confidence for people to be there. Towns are so sad if everyone vacates and goes online.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
I think at that age you worry so much about the decisions you make in terms of subjects you take and 'where am I going to go for uni?' and 'what am I going to do?'. I was dead set on being a nutritionist. If I met my 15-year-old self now I'd say don't sweat the small stuff and just do things you're good at and you love. Your career will fall into place.
Which artist are you most excited about seeing at Sound Valley Festival?
I'm super excited about this. I spent my summers at places like Butlers Reef in Oakura with the likes of Kora and The Black Seeds, so I can't wait to see them here. On a side note, I'm looking forward to seeing JessB as well. She is actually a really good netballer as well up in Auckland. That is a pivot, to go from pretty much a professional netballer to a super cool music artist.
Which three people from history would you invite for dinner, and why?
A sentimental one would be my mother-in-law, who passed away before I ever got to meet her. I'd love to chew the fat with her and get to know her, and seeing those traits that are in my husband now, whether they're good or bad.
I've been obsessed with those Princess Diana documentaries on Netflix at the moment, so I'd invite her too. I find the whole monarchy thing fascinating and so skewed.
In going with the theme of an all-female dinner table, I'd probably invite Serena Williams. Absolute world-class athletes in sports where it's only you, people like that are also really fascinating to me.
What is Whanganui's best kept secret?
Most people would probably say our arts scene, but I don't think that's a secret any more.
I think it would be the incredible business people in Whanganui. I'll meet with people from Wellington or around New Zealand and I'll mention that Q-West made the Kaikoura whale watch boats and they're like 'what? They're made in Whanganui?'.
There's just the most random mix of niche manufacturing and small business here, and once people hear about them all, their minds are blown.
Who would you most like to play netball with?
Probably Bernice Mene. She was a childhood idol when I was aspiring to be a Silver Fern. Playing with someone like that would be pretty cool.
If there was one album stuck on repeat in the office, what would you choose?
The energy and delivery of anything by Queen was undeniably amazing, so I'm going to go with that, anything by Queen.