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Mum of 5 makes a bid for Christchurch City Council

Mum of 5 makes a bid for Christchurch City Council

When announcements were made last year for the proposed mergers and closures of Christchurch schools, Melanie Riwai-Couch stood down from her contract with the National Office of the Ministry of Education so that she could lead opposition to her children’s school merger. She was successful.

For Riwai-Couch the experience highlighted Christchurch’s vulnerability when decisions are made away from the communities who are most affected. Now, she is standing in the local body elections for Councillor in the Spreydon-Heathcote Ward.

“We need leadership in Christchurch that works with and for the well being of our own communities. Schools, churches, sport clubs, marae and many other community organisations are looking after the immediate welfare of Christchurch people, and we need to make sure that the city is looking after them.”

Riwai-Couch believes that the council needs to be energized with a new generation of inspirational and intelligent leadership that reflects modern needs and aspirations of Christchurch families and businesses.

The thirty-eight year old hopes that her candidacy will provide residents with the opportunity to vote for someone who they can relate to and has the right balance of youth and experience.

“Whether it is raising a family, finding a park at the netball courts, paying the bills, building a house or running a business - It helps when you know that those representing you understand the realities you are faced with every day.”

Riwai-Couch’s husband Jared runs their family business and is the grandson of the late Hon. Ben Couch. They have lived in Somerfield for nearly thirteen years and they have five children aged 3 – 12 years. The family has strong links to Ngāi Tahu through Rapaki Marae (Lyttleton) and their children are bilingual in Māori and English.

For nine years Riwai-Couch trained secondary school teachers as a Senior Lecturer at the Christchurch College of Education, she worked for Ngāi Tahu as their Education Facilitator for two years and then became a Senior Adviser for the National Office of the Ministry of Education. She is experienced with governance, strategic planning, running selection panels and contract management.

In addition to her professional experience, Riwai-Couch is a registered teacher, has a Bachelor of Education in Physical Education, a Masters degree with Distinction from the University of Canterbury and is currently completing a Ph.D. in Education.


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