Tory Whanau is a prominent figure in New Zealand politics. Having previously held the position of parliamentary chief of staff for the Green Party, she has made significant contributions to the political landscape. In the 2022 election, she achieved a remarkable feat by being elected as the mayor of Wellington, becoming the first individual of Māori descent to hold this esteemed position. Her accomplishment not only represents a significant milestone for herself but also marks a moment of progress and inclusivity in the city’s governance.
Full name- Tory Awatere Whanau
Birthplace-Porirua, New Zealand
Profession-Politician, 37th Mayor of Wellington
Office- Mayor of Wellington since 2022
Political party Green (until 2022), Independent (2022–present)
Whanau, who has ancestral roots in Pakakohi and Ngāruahine, was born in Porirua in 1983. She spent her childhood in Cannons Creek, Porirua before relocating with her family to Patea at the age of 8.
Tory Whanau is an independent individual who, as of May 2023, does not have a husband or partner. She resides in Wellington, where she shares her home with her beloved dog named Teddy. Furthermore, Tory does not have any children from previous relationships or otherwise.
Whanau attended New Plymouth Girls’ High School during her time in Patea. As she grew older, she moved to Wellington to pursue further studies. In a fortunate turn of events, in 2003, Whanau won $1.39 million in a Lotto draw. She wisely utilized her winnings to pay off her parents’ mortgage, provide support to her family, and embark on travel adventures.
Whanau successfully completed her academic journey with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Victoria University of Wellington in 2006 Following her graduation, she embarked on a career in the financial sector, gaining valuable experience and knowledge. In 2012, she further expanded her educational qualifications by achieving a Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Administration, specializing in Communication Management, from Massey University. This additional degree further enhanced her skills and expertise in the field.
Whanau made her foray into politics in 2015, joining the parliamentary wing of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. She initially worked in a supportive capacity for the party. During the 2017 general election, Whanau took on the role of the party’s digital director, showcasing her expertise in
the digital realm. Additionally, she assumed the position of acting chief of staff following Deborah Morris-Travers’ resignation in August 2017.
In the aftermath of both the 2017 and 2020 elections, Whanau played a vital role as a member of the Green Party’s team in the negotiation process that ultimately led to the formation of the resulting government. Her involvement in these negotiations demonstrated her dedication to the party’s objectives and her ability to navigate the political landscape.
In August 2021, Whanau decided to step down from her position as chief of staff, with the intention of establishing a public relations consultancy firm alongside Matthew Tukaki, Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, and Nevada Halbert. However, instead of pursuing this venture, she made the decision to join Capital Government Relations, a prominent firm in the field of government relations.
Whanau’s journey in politics has showcased her diverse skill set and her ability to adapt to different roles within the political sphere. From her early involvement in the Green Party to her strategic contributions in government negotiations, she has demonstrated a commitment to making a meaningful impact in New Zealand’s political landscape.
Mayor of Wellington
On November 18, 2021, Whanau declared her candidacy for the Wellington mayoralty in the 2022 election. Her campaign was officially launched on June 30, 2022. Running as an independent candidate, Whanau received the endorsement of the Green Party. In the election, she secured the mayoralty with 34,462 votes after the distribution of preferences, surpassing the incumbent Andy Foster’s vote count by more than double.
Whanau’s policy platform focused on various areas, including addressing infrastructure issues, providing warm and dry homes for all, improving public transportation, supporting mental health and harm reduction, promoting safer streets, revitalizing arts and culture, offering business support, and taking action on climate change.
Considered one of the few progressive candidates to win a mayoral office in the 2022 local elections, Whanau’s victory stood out among the broader trend of New Zealand territorial authorities swinging towards conservative candidates.
After the 2022 Wellington local elections, Whanau streamlined the Wellington City Council by reducing the number of full council committees from five to three. She conducted negotiations and restructuring, appointing several Labour and Green councillors as chairs of these three council committees, namely Rebecca Matthews, Teri O’Neill, and Tamatha Paul.
When her Green Party membership was up for renewal in November 2022, Whanau decided not to renew it. According to Georgina Campbell of The New Zealand Herald, this decision was made to foster better relationships with independent councillors, without being formally tied to a political party.
In May 2023, Whanau faced criticism for her absence from various local functions, such as a meeting of regional mayors in Carterton that aimed to discuss the Water Services Reform Programme.
In the 2022 election, she emerged victorious and assumed the esteemed position of Mayor of Wellington. Prior to this role, she had diligently served as the parliamentary chief of staff for the Green Party. She is 37th Mayor of Wellington.
Net Worth 2023
Tory Whanau salary as a mayor –
The mayor’s annual salary for the period of 2022/2023 amounts to $296,000.
Latest News About Tory Whanau
Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau accidentally left a restaurant without paying, describing it as an honest mistake. A restaurant manager at The Old Quarter on Dixon Street in Wellington claims that Mayor Tory Whanau appeared to be intoxicated when she visited the establishment on Friday and left without paying. Shay Lomas, the manager, stated that Whanau arrived with a friend and seemed “tipsy.” They ordered a bottle of wine, and the restaurant decided that if they also ordered food, the staff could continue serving Whanau without having to refuse her alcohol, as serving alcohol to intoxicated individuals is against the law.
Lomas mentioned that although he did not personally serve the pair, the server who did informed him that at one point, Whanau asked if they knew who she was. The server recognized her but was unsure, so they responded accordingly. Whanau repeatedly made comments about being the mayor of Wellington. Lomas stated that although Whanau’s behavior was not inappropriate or rude, she made some “silly little comments.” He also mentioned that the staff did not find her disrespectful until she left without paying, attributing her actions to being slightly drunk.
The restaurant received a call the following morning from someone other than Whanau, and they invoiced that person for the bill, which has since been paid. Whanau expressed her embarrassment over walking out without paying and called it an honest mistake, assuring that it was rectified the next morning. However, she denied the other allegations made against her, specifically regarding her conduct and being refused service, deeming them false.
In a statement, Mayor Tory Whanau affirmed that she is a regular patron of The Old Quarter and considers it one of her favorite restaurants. She stated her commitment to continue working towards accelerated climate action, affordable housing, and better services for Wellington.