Indian origin woman in NZ local government polls fray

An Indian origin woman is in with a chance to become the first Muslim woman to be elected to a local government body in New Zealand.

Wellington: An Indian origin woman is in with a chance to become the first Muslim woman to be elected to a local government body in New Zealand.

Anjum Rahman is contesting for the city council of Hamilton, the most populous city in the Waikato region of New Zealand`s North Island.

A candidate from the Hamilton East ward, Rahman says that though she was not born in Hamilton, her family being originally from India, she is "Hamiltonian to the core" having lived in the city for over 40 years after she arrived there at the age of five in 1972.

A popular community campaigner, Rahman did her schooling in Hamilton and is a chartered accountant by profession with over 20 years of practical experience.

She holds a bachelors and masters degree in management studies from the Waikato University.

Rahman says that she wants to stand for the city council as she wants to ensure that it is not run like a commercial business.

"Not only do I have significant financial experience with business and farm accounting, I also serve as treasurer for a variety of not-for-profit organisations,” she says in her campaign website.

"I believe these are vital skills to bring to governance of Hamilton City. The Council is a not-for-profit organisation, so needs to be run in ways that are significantly different to a commercial business.”

Rahman is also a founding member of Shama or Hamilton Ethnic Women`s Centre that was set up in 2003 to provide support for ethnic minority women in Hamilton.

The organisation provides parenting classes, homework classes, cooking, craft and sewing classes, counselling services and support for those dealing with domestic violence.

This apart, Rahman is also a trustee of Waikato Community Broadcasting Charitable Trust that runs FreeFM, formerly Community Radio Hamilton. It provides community groups access to media and have their voices heard.

"I have been involved in range of other community organisations over the years. I have been a member of the Waikato Interfaith Council and have helped to organise two national interfaith forums in the city, in 2006 and 2012,” she says on the website.

"I have also been involved in organising the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other events.”

The Hamilton City Council elections, along with other local government body elections in New Zealand, are scheduled to be held Oct 12.


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