APGFWN Webinar - Women in Local Government Councillor

 Women in Local Government Councillor Marie Laufiso

Webinar Date: 6th August, 2020 6 am UTC

Zoom link for the Webinar: 


Marie Laufiso grew up in Brockville, one of the “state-housing” suburbs of Ōtepoti Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand. While learning Sāmoan values of hard work, tautua (service), and fa’aaloalo (deep respect) and alofa from Parents, Elders, and ‘Aiga (extended family). After 2 years at the University of Otago, she gained a VOTP (Voluntary Organisations Training Programme) position as a Trade Aid shop-worker for Corso (a small New Zealand aid and development agency). And according to her, hence began her “real” education, spanning some 30-plus years.

In October 2016 Marie was elected to the Dunedin City Council(DCC) in the South Island of New Zealand for 3 years. She was one of two Green DCCCouncillors and also the Aotearoa New Zealand Greens’ first Pāsifika Elected Member (at either Local or Central government level.) Marie was re-elected for a second term in October 2019 and part of her work is to support colleague Cr Aaron Hawkins, who was elected as Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Green Mayor. She also Chairs the Community and Culture Committee and is Deputy-Chair of the Grants Sub-Committee.

Some 4 decades of practical community development and organising/activism at familial, local, national, and international levels have gifted Marie with a political analysis that sharpens her focus ~ not on symptoms but - on underlying causes of material and spiritual impoverishment. Her approach as a Green local government politician is focused primarily on social justice by (i) raising awareness at local government level and (ii) trying to encourage and support local communities - in particular those of Brockville and similar suburbs, Tāngata Whenua o Aotearoa (Peoples of the Land, indigenous nations, Māori), Pāsifika and former Refugees - to participate in the local democratic process. This acknowledges that our people do not feel sufficiently informed or engaged to be interested in politics or to exercise their democratic rights to vote. I believe that Papatūānuku’s, Earth Mother’s, ultimate well-being will be taken care of when Tāngata Whenua moves beyond deprivation and mere survival to dreaming and envisioning a harmonious future for 7 Generations.

“We need more Green politicians at the local level to be part of healing the people and therefore the Planet.