Sept. 15, 2022, 2:46 p.m.
Felicity Foy (nee King) is running for the 2022 Te Hiku General Ward candidacy in the local body elections and is no stranger to hard work or politics. She grew up getting her hands dirty, deep in a farming lifestyle and years of watermelon gardening to earn her keep. Foy’s husband is Awanui man, Mike Foy, owner of Coastline Plumbing. She is also the daughter of Fiona and Jo King, two well-reputed names in agriculture, commercial fishing and dairy farming.
Foy's tātai to Te Rarawa marae in Pukepoto descends through her mother’s whakapapa. Fiona's mother is Maire Parker (nee Macpherson). Maire's mother (Foy's great-grandmother) was Gertrude Mcpherson (nee Hamilton) and she is buried in Pukepoto. Gertrude was the daughter of Apikera Toamia Piko Hamilton (nee Hopa/Job) and is also buried in Pukepoto.
Foy's son, Parker, carries his great-grandmother’s name into the future.
"My Mum's Nana Macpherson is buried there. I have been helping our marae, as they want better connectivity between the marae and over to the urupā across the road. We have been discussing speed zones, parking and pathways. I value my tātai to my marae and enjoy working alongside my whānau."
Foy's father shares whakapapa to Rongowhakaata, on the East Coast, through his mum's side. Her grandmother’s brother could kōrero Māori fluently. He taught their whole whānau te reo Māori and shared history about how Foy's great-great grandfather was an interpreter in the Māori Land Court in Gisborne.
Foy's mother was also previously a Far North District Councillor and community board chair. She saw the town planners at work and thought that might be a good career choice to guide Foy towards. They used to review the financial impact statement for Far North District Council together growing up and do submissions to the Long Term Plan and the Annual Plan.
"My mother inspired me to become a town planner and to start my own business. I studied to achieve my Master of Resource & Environmental Planning degree while working full-time and studying extramurally with Massey University. She taught me that hard work never hurt anybody and that the paperwork and financial planning aspects of any governance role or business was key," detailed Foy.
"We all pay a lot of money in rates and I was astounded at where our hard-earned ratepayer funds are being spent, and the areas of the budgets that were not as transparent about where the funds were being spent (e.g. the general rate). She showed me how to understand how the rating and financial planning system in local government worked and passed on her strong passion for stormwater and drainage to me. Any farmer’s daughter probably knows how drainage, drainage, drainage, is key to any farming and infrastructure aspects," said Foy.
When Tautīnei asked Foy what her favourite childhood memories were growing up deeply immersed in a Far North lifestyle, she responded;
"I grew up on a farm, near Awanui. We didn’t know that being on the farm was work, it was normal and what we did with our family. We had a little motorbike that we used to ride on the farm to do our jobs with our parents, and would often crash it into the electric fence or bamboo, but none of us wanted to pull it out of the electric fence, as we didn’t want the fence shocks. We would make hay huts in the barn, with the hay bales, and have to pick up sticks from the paddocks and chuck them onto the trailer behind my dad on his tractor/trailer," detailed the energetic mother of two.
"I worked in the Masters market gardens from when I was 12 until I was 17. It was so hot, and I would be covered in peat dirt all day, with dirt up my nose and my hands covered in watermelon juice. But man I was fit from picking and lifting those watermelons all day! Plus it taught me the best work ethic, my body hurt and I was tired, but I pushed through that to get the job done. It definitely made me sleep well at night!"
Her practical skills ensure her farm in Kaingaroa is immaculately maintained. You'll find her on a tractor, using her tipper truck to move soil or machinery and cutting her husband's list of jobs thin, because she can do most of them herself. She puts her well-experienced kete of skills, experience and knowledge into completing many projects around Te Hiku o Te Ika.
Tautīnei asked Foy what her goals and focuses would be should she be re-elected as a Far North District Councillor this year;
"I am a strong believer in doing the basics well. At Far North District Council, we now have a new CEO that is a qualified engineer. Asset management has always lagged in our Council, and this has implications for both financial planning & infrastructure planning. It is with hope, that now we can focus the new CEO on getting the much needed asset management that we require to plan for growth, and also enable the private sector to plan for growth. I personally would like to see more investment in stormwater assets and better land use planning at a catchment level.
Previously I haven’t had a role within the regulatory sector of the Council, however now I would like to use my experience as a qualified town planner to lead a culture change within the regulatory department to be enabling and support private sector development," explained Foy.
If she isn't chairing infrastructure hui, showing ministers how bad our highways are via helicopter, or putting on great birthday spreads to celebrate her loved ones, you are most likely to find her gliding along the waves of Te Kōhanga. Tautīnei asked Foy what her favourite Northland getaway, favourite coffee and favourite place to dine out was;
"I love the outdoors, going to the beach, and fishing & surfing. My favourite beaches have to be Ahipara/Te Kōhanga & Cable Bay. We are so blessed to have so many beaches and such a paradise to live in here in Te Hiku o te Ika. I often joke how we have more beaches than shops in the Far North, and how can that be a bad thing!
I like to dine out at Mangonui Waterfront Cafe, and the new Peekaboo Cafe. I like how they are local businesses and offer seafood and healthy choices, plus great coffee and a nice outdoor area. You can’t beat that view at the waterfront cafe either," said Foy.
It looks like this year's Local Body Elections will shape up to be a well-contested election process with a pool of candidates with strong links to Te Taitokerau.
"Lastly, I would like FNDC to reduce internal operational costs, seek more external funding options, and empower communities to be part of the scoping and delivery of their local projects, particularly placemaking projects, like the Te Hiku o te Ika Masterplan that has been delivered over the last couple of years (which I scoped/created and I am the lead FNDC elected member for)," detailed Foy.