Whau veteran promises attention to safety issues

Whau Local Board Candidate Ann Degia-Pala (INL File Photo)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, August 28, 2022

It is often said of Anne Degia-Pala that she knows half the population of the Whau Local Board catchment area and the other half knows her.

A Candidate promoted by Communities & Residents (C&R); Anne has what it takes to be a representative of the people. She has been a resident of the Whau region for the past 34 years and her business in Kelston, her role in the Waitakere Ethnic Board (as the first Woman President), the Auckland Council Peoples Advisory Panel and key positions in several other organisations make her a sound candidate to contest in the ensuing local government elections.

Born in Fiji of Gujarati heritage, Anne is married to Kishor, who has been an IT Specialist for more than three decades. Together, they share a passion for community and social service.

Impressive career and attitude

She has qualifications, experience and expertise in good governance, public policy, public management, research and strategic planning.

Her work experience includes senior positions at the University of Auckland, Pacific Islands Chamber of Commerce, Sofrana Unilines and Auckland Kindergarten Association. She is currently a Director at WinMac Solutions Limited, which provides total information technology packages including hardware and software solutions.

“I will therefore be an asset to the Local Board,” she said.

Anne believes that love and true friendship transcend all human barriers of religion, income disparity and social status bringing forth the innate good in people. She is an advocate of inclusion and social cohesion, which are ingredients for peace and harmony.

“The prime reason for contesting in the Whau Local Board election is my passion to serve the varied needs of the people,” she said.

Whau has caring communities (Auckland Council Photo)

The ongoing challenges

Anne recognises the inevitability of the economic and social effects of Covid-19 continuing for a length of time, although our borders are now fully open.

“We face several challenges including spiralling costs of essential goods exacerbated by inflation, rising interest rates, interrupted supply chain and labour market shortages. While these should be addressed at the national level, I am concerned about the safety and security of our people in the Whau area. I will work with the concerned authorities to reduce the harm being inflicted on them. This will be my primary task if elected to the Local Board,” she said.

In her long association with communities and their leaders, Anne has been involved in organising seminars on safety and security promoting inclusiveness and matters relating to women including their health, business, social and economic justice and other factors.

People at the heart of decisions

“In Whau, we want to come together on issues that matter to us and our everyday livelihoods. We are different but we want to get along and treat and respect everyone. Locals will be at the heart of my decision-making. I will put people before politics and aspire to balance operations and finances thus maximising local services while working within budget constraints. Great partnerships work with fostering and respect for values and traditions,” she said.

Anne has been a friend of Indian Newslink since its establishment on November 15, 1999, and used to be a regular visitor to our offices. We were with her in 2001 when tragedy struck with the untimely death of her only son in a traffic accident (he was not driving). Devastated by the death of Nix, she took to community service and work on issues relating to road safety.

Anne Degia-Pala receiving the Indian Newslink Community Award from Kalyan Rao Kasuganti, then President of the New Zealand Telugu Association on October 8, 2018 (INL Photo by Narendra Bedekar)

“With my tracks of life taking a new course, I passionately pursued community development and governance in the not-for-profit sector. Over two decades I remain strongly committed to communities and the cultural, social, environmental and economic well-being of various communities. My efforts in road and family safety have been a crucial part of recovery for many families,” she said.

Anne has been a member of the Board of the ratepayer-funded Drowning Prevention Auckland for the past six years, a member of the Lotteries National and Safer Communities Committee for three years and a Trustee of NixCrew Road Safety Trust established more than 20 years ago.

“I have the time to commit to a role at the Local Board,” she said.

Awards and accolades

Pursuit of excellence in community service earned her a Queen’s Service Medal in 2007 and ten years later (2017), she was appointed an Ambassador for Peace in 2017 by the Family Federation of World Peace and attended  Reconciliation for Peace Forum in Korea and Cambodia. I was selected for the Global Engagement of  Religions in Society (GERIS) and attended a forum in Indonesia in July this year.

Indian Newslink readers nominated her for a Community Award, which she won at the Fifth Annual Indian Newslink Sports, Community, Arts and Culture Awards held in Auckland on October 8, 2018.

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