Meet the candidates

N8N presents  profiles on candidates for the upcoming local body elections.   Candidates were asked to answer the same questionsPhoto of Allan Sanson and return their answers by 10am Monday 2 September. 

These are shown in the order N8N received them. 

Q & A with Allan Sanson, who is standing for Mayor of Waikato District Council.

What is your background, how old are you, where were you born?
I am 63 years, and was born at the Huntly Maternity Hospital in 1955. I am a third-generation dairy farmer and lived at Ruawaro (northwest of Huntly) for 50 years. Trisha and I have been married 41 years and we have three adult children and four adorable grandchildren.

What is your occupation?
I am the current Mayor of the Waikato District, serving the District in this role for nine years. Prior to this I served as the local Councillor for the then Whangape Ward.

Where are you currently living? And for how long?
Thirteen years ago we sold our dairy farm, and moved to our new home on our Pukekapia farm (northwest of Huntly), where we still reside today.

What is special about the rural community you want to serve?
Rural people are passionate about what affects them on a daily basis and what is important to them. I feel that rural communities are understated as the backbone of the New Zealand economy. It must be strongly acknowledged that when there is a global downturn the world still wants high quality food products, and the rural community is there to continue the day-to-day requirements of food production. Along with this are the supporting businesses that provide services to the rural community so the benefits go far reaching. Over all our years bringing up our family, Trisha and I found strength and support from the close rural community groups that pulled together and worked together.

What motivates you daily?
To make a positive difference, and to make the District even better for all residents.

Why do you want to stand for council?
To continue to promote economic development within the District through that work, and to help create new employment opportunities and better housing solutions and options for residents. I get great satisfaction from helping bring new businesses to the District, which gives opportunities for employment within our area and enables residents to live, work and play locally. Also to continue working with Councillors and their communities to help them achieve their aspirations.

What will you bring to council that is unique?
I have a background in farming, business and governance, so I bring experience to this role. I want to leave the District in a better condition and outcome than when I first came in as Mayor nine years ago. I have a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities due to our position between two major cities in New Zealand, and what that means for the people of Waikato District if managed correctly.

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?
My biggest accomplishment that I am most proud of is ‘my family’. Trisha and I are so proud of our children, watching them mature and excel in their chosen careers, and with their partners, becoming outstanding citizens. Also, I am extremely proud to be leading a positive, well managed Council in a team environment that works collectively together for the betterment of the Waikato District.

Who are the biggest influences in your life?
The strong influences in my life have been my parents, where they led by example by working hard, providing for their family and community, and my wife, Trisha who has given unwavering support to enable me to serve in my role as Mayor.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing business leaders today?
The biggest challenges facing businesses today are compliance costs. These are growing in all areas of business in New Zealand both rural and urban. Central government is always passing on new rules, laws etc. which businesses have to implement, with no recognition of costs incurred to apply. Local Government also has the same issues.

What are the challenges facing our rural communities?
Rural communities are facing increased costs, compliance issues to do with running their business, also complying with Regional Council and Central Government expectations and requirements. From a local perspective, Council needs to provide access to good infrastructure to allow their businesses to flourish.

What will one of your focuses be if you are elected?
As Mayor, I will continue with the work on economic development which has been a bonanza for the Waikato District. On average an excess of 1000 new jobs have been created in the District every year. I will continue to be promoting opportunities for new industries for employment throughout the District, always keeping in mind affordability of rates and fees. As a District we are growing at a very fast pace, and this needs to be carefully controlled so that there is minimal impact on current ratepayers.

What do you love about the Waikato?
I love the Waikato for many reasons. There is a good strong mix of rural and urban residents. If you have travelled overseas to drier parts of the world, there is nothing more beautiful than coming home to the lush rolling green pastures of the countryside. Our District is made up of many unique and special towns, all with their own characteristics and helps make our Liveable, Thriving and Connected communities that are the Waikato District.


The next candidate is Howard Lovell, standing for the Hukanui-Waerenga ward in the coming elections for Waikato District Council.

Photo of Howard LovellWhat is your background, how old are you, where were you born?
I was born in Taupiri in 1965 making me 54 years of age. I have always lived in the Waikato District and am loving seeing the current growth and development in our area.

What is your occupation?
I own and run a dairy farm in Taupiri and have been based here majority of my life.

Where are you currently living?  And for how long?
I live in Taupiri, all of my life.

What is special about the rural community you want to serve?
Being a farmer I am passionate about the rural community as well as the growth which is happening in this region. I am also passionate about the betterment of farming practices and environmental issues.

What motivates you daily?
Having been on my local community board for 15 years I am passionate about the people we have in our community and seeing progress in this area, as well as my family and housing development which is currently in progress.

Why do you want to stand for council?
I feel with my life experience I have a lot to offer the district which I am passionate about.

What will you bring to council that is unique?
An open mind, and a good relationship with all aspects of our community.

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?
Raising my children and my housing development.

Who are the biggest influences in your life?
My family and friends.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing business leaders today?
Increased compliance and focus on environmental practices.

What are the challenges facing our rural communities?
Keeping up with current trends and global markets as well as improving environmental practices.

What will one of your focuses be if you are elected?
I will be driven to improve infrastructure and services within our region and better the lives of our people.

What do you love about the Waikato?
The culture and closeness to other regions.
He aha te mea nui o te ao? What is the most important thing in this world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. The people!


Chris Woolerton is also standing for the Hukanui-Waerenga Ward.

Photo of Chris WooldertonWhere were you born, how old are you, what is your background?
I was born two months after they landed on the moon and raised in Horsham Downs. I did a fitter/turner apprenticeship at NZCDC (Precursor to Fonterra) at Paerata, before returning home to the family farm in 1992. Susan and I have been happily married for 26 years and we have four children, whom I’m extremely proud of.

Where do you live?
The new expressway went through the back of the family farm and we had to relocate in 2001. We were fortunate enough to find and purchase a dairy farm in Taupiri/Orini where we currently live.

What is your occupation?
First and foremost, I’m a dairy farmer, and have farmed for over 25 years in the ward. In addition, my passion for technology, has led me to become an installer and trainer of agricultural GPS systems.

Why did you stand?
I’m really passionate about our area, this is where I’ve spent my life, it’s my home. I was approached and when I considered the opportunity, I realised I was vested in the Hukanui-Waerenga ward; born in Horsham Downs, children attended Gordonton Primary School, live in Taupiri/Orini and used to have a runoff in Te Hoe.

I see a real need for local representation, it’s time for our rate paying stakeholders/residents to have a voice from within our ward to bring about greater engagement with council.

What motivates you?
I’m motivated by building relationships with people and collaborating together to find sensible solutions.

Who are your great influences?
My family – who keeps me real. My family’s forward-thinking approach to life, business and community service. “When you do something, do it well, so it will last and make a difference”.

What do you think you can do for the ward?
I want to represent the ward and present the common ideas and concerns to council with a fresh perspective and energetic approach.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing large business leaders of today?

Being financially viable and true to their business model whilst meeting new regulations and compliance, to ensure their business/farm continues to meet the market in our forever changing landscape.

What’s special about the Hukanui-Waerenga ward?
I have had the pleasure to meet and hear the different perspectives of our local residents and property owners of what is going on within our ward. Their genuine interest in the happenings of our community has cemented the pride I have for the ward. It will be a privilege to be the Hukanui-Waerenga ward representative.

The Hukanui-Waerenga ward has been committed to building a diverse and inclusive community while ensuring sustainable/regenerative stewardship of the land, and I wish for that to continue. Just look at any of our districts; they have some form of sporting facility, discussion group, church, playgroup, local businesses, hall community and school that is learning based but has a family and community orientation.

What are the challenges facing our rural communities?
Change. Political, economic, societal and environmental pressures have enforced an expectation of change within the community we live in and which businesses/farms operate. I wish to present the needs of the community to council during this period of change to ensure they are heard, understood and acknowledged throughout the decision-making process.

What are your interests/hobbies?
My hobbies involve competing in a number of sports and working with community projects. In my youth I sailed competitively for New Zealand and continue to enjoy getting out on the water to race when I can. I enjoy trail riding and have competed in the New Zealand cross country series in the 250cc+2-stroke division (masters).

I co-ordinate the ICONZ for Boys unit at Oaks Christian Centre, where we engage with 30+ boys focusing on building them into “kiwi icons” through experiencing adventure and action-packed programmes.


Korikori Hawkins is standing as a mayoral candidate for Waikato District Council.

Photo of KorikoriWhat is your background, how old are you, where were you born?
I am seventh generation Waikato Tainui. I come from a working class family and grew up in Ngaruawahia, Turangawaewae marae. I have a professional background in counselling, specialising in mediation and advocacy. I am 57, born in Huntly maternity home.

What is your occupation?
I currently own and operate a family business in my hometown of Ngaruawahia, The RiverBed Motel. It’s a fantastic little business where I get to host people from all corners of the world.

Where are you currently living? And for how long?
I live in Ngaruawahia where I own a heritage property located on the Waikato river opposite my marae, Turangawaewae. I will happily stay here for the rest of my life.

What is special about the rural community you want to serve?
It requires a special kind of folk, hard work, resilience and resourcefulness to own and operate a farm. I know this from personal experience. My grandparents leased a dairy farm in south Auckland, Waiuku. It was very much a family affair. I’m also a trustee for a family block of land in Pirongia currently leased to a local farmer. I believe operating a motel has similarities to farming. It’s a seven day, 24 hour commitment.

What motivates you daily?

The satisfaction of earning a living and knowing this has rubbed off on my five children who all have jobs.

Why do you want to stand for council?

I think the people are ready for leadership change. I believe I have the right skills and experience to lead council and will do so with the highest of integrity, grace and respect for the people I represent.

What will you bring to council that is unique?

30 years experience of helping people overcome their greatest fears and challenges and success stories in my capacity as counsellor, social worker, educator and project manager. I’m also a mother of five, three mokopuna and married 35 years. I studied while I was working full-time, and managed to complete a degree in Social Sciences. There was no such thing as maternity leave when I had my children. However I can look back and feel totally satisfied with my life achievements so far.

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud?
I went out and secured my first job at the age of 16 and I’m still in the workforce with a lot more energy to give.

Who are the biggest influences in your life?

My whanau and my former Wintec colleagues, Dr Hare Pukè, Darrin Haimona, Kingi Kiriona and Hera White. A mix of grass roots and academic leadership.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing business leaders today?
Keeping up with modern technology, attracting and retaining quality staff, staying on trend in a highly competitive global market.

What are the challenges facing our rural communities?
Pressure to supply land for urban housing crisis and new industry builds.

What will one of your focuses be if you are elected?
Governance – I will expect my team to lead by example in all aspects of our work as public servants.

What do you love about the Waikato?
Location, location, location. We live in a beautiful part of the country with such diverse offerings of culture, history and natural landmarks. I’m proud to call Waikato my home.



  • Delivery of voting documents will take place between 20 – 25 September 2019. Election Day is 12 October 2019.  Voting closes at noon.


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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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