As part of our thinking about Kāpiti’s future, KIN asked the youngest and brightest new hope on the KCDC, Councillor Sophie Handford: “What would you try to achieve if you were Mayor of the district.”
Sophie replied- “I think being in a role like Mayor or Councillor brings with it a huge responsibility but also opportunity to do good for Kāpiti’s people and environment. There is so much I would want to achieve and I think we, collectively, have the ability to achieve it.
Our district is expected to grow exponentially in the coming 30 years and so we need a strategy for managing how and where this growth occurs, that also maximizes the opportunities to connect communities and reduce emissions.
Re-centering people & planet in these kōrero is key if we want our vision of the Coast to be sustainable.
‘A ferw things on my radar”
To name a few practical things I’ve got on my radar and would want to achieve… setting an ambitious carbon neutrality goal and plan for the entire district (2045), reviewing current advisory groups to add more and ensure current ones are empowered and supported, establish a permanent youth space in Ōtaki, fostering stronger inter-councillor relationships (Councillor only visioning sessions), work with residents associations and business associations on refreshed local visions… I could go on & on.
‘And how would you set about doing this?’ KIN asked
“Through hard work and persistence. Through kōrero & engagement with iwi and our wider community. I would bring Councillors together to mind-map and expand on what I have mentioned as being my main focus and passions because I recognise that with diverse perspectives feeding in, we are more likely to have outcomes to benefit a larger proportion of our rōhe.
And will you consider running for the top post in the forthcoming elections?
“I haven’t ruled it out completely. At this stage though, I am thinking I’ll stand in the Paekākāriki – Raumati Ward again.”
This year, Sophie is coordinating a group called the ‘Intergenerational Climate Ambassadors.’
She is also on the Board of Kāpiti Youth Support, a volunteer with StarJam and mentoring a young boy through Challenge for Change.
And she is an advisor to APEC Voices of the Future hosted by Thailand this year, after being awarded the June Mayne Gould Leadership Award.
Sophie adds: “I am looking forward to also beginning some part time study this year at Victoria University of Wellington.”