You can know a person for years without ever really knowing them at all.
Such a person is Dr Peter Haynes, Albert-Eden Local Board chair. Peter has been a friend of Crave for years, back before the neighbourhood street parties were very big at all. As board chair, Peter is well known as someone who moves about the community, to take its pulse and to be involved with and support local initiatives. He remembers coming across Crave and resonating with our mission statement.
‘I like to visit all the cafes in our area,’ Peter said. ‘I sort of happened upon Crave and I read the thing they had on the blackboard and that was a real revelation. I was very excited.
‘I checked on Facebook and saw that they were doing one of their then rather small-scale neighbourhood street parties and came along.’
That was six or more years ago. Only recently did we sit down for the Under the Hood series and burrow more deeply into Peter’s own story, which very quickly opened up like a well-thumbed book of US political campaign history.
As a graduate student of economics and politics, Peter spent a couple of end of year holidays visiting the US to work briefly for the Republican National Committee on Capitol Hill. He was one of only two foreigners in the 450-odd who worked for the RNC at the time.
If you know anything about Peter at all, you’ll know that he’s on the board as a member of the City Vision ticket, so it comes as a bit of a surprise to hear that he was in the US helping George HW Bush in his 1980 campaign for nomination against Ronald Reagan.
’No, so you see when I got to Washington, I fronted up to the Kennedy for President campaign and they weren’t hiring. Likewise, Carter’s reelection campaign—he was my second preference.
‘I went to the George Washington University Career Placements Bureau and I was flicking through their big file of jobs for students, and there was the RNC—so I thought, Well, what the hell, I’m here in Washington, I might as well get the experience.’
Back in NZ, after working for the Ministry of Energy, Peter worked for the Public Service Association as a national advocate negotiator. It became the foundation of a teaching career, focussed mainly on employment relations, which he continued right up until 2013, round about the time his story crossed paths with Crave’s.
He was also a new father at the time—which he describes as tough—plus the new chair of the local board. Something had to give, and that was teaching.
‘In 2010 I had this exciting new project. It was called the Super City. That’s a dirty word now. But it was going to be a Super City in every respect. It was exciting especially if you’ve been teaching Management 101 for 20 years, to actually be a part of a project like this.
‘It’s parish pump, admittedly, but a lot of the little things you do at the level of the parish pump impact very meaningfully on people—so if your objective is to make a difference and do good, then if your ego can handle being at the bottom of the political hierarchy, local government has an enormous amount to offer.’
Part of what Peter offers is vision. Because he’s someone who takes the community’s pulse, he has keen insight into the development of areas like Morningside. He has a particular view of what’s happening in McDonald Street.
‘At the moment, Crave is it—but in five years’ time, this could be one of Auckland’s happening streets. It could be the new Nuffield Street. And I’d be very happy to see it, with lots of apartments, inner-city type living.
‘Our local board is really keen on community gardens, so that’s something I’d like to see more of in this area.’
Watch this space!