About Ria

Of Tauranga, for Tauranga. 

I have dedicated my life to advocate for positive change.

Born and raised in Tauranga, I descend from all three iwi of Tauranga Moana and was educated at Maungatapu Primary, Tauranga Intermediate and Tauranga Girls’ College.

The youngest of four girls, politics has always been in my veins. I studied Political Science at university, and forged a career set out to inspire and instil hope for change. Forever the optimist, I have always considered Tauranga as small enough to be connected to people and place and large enough to dream big.

I dreamt big and became an award-winning singer and songwriter, making a national and international career in the arts for over two decades.

From a young age, I was identified as someone with leadership qualities. I've held several national governance roles including as a Board Member of the New Zealand Music Commission. I am part of the first cohort for the Master of Regional Development programme through the University of Auckland, and I am committed to growing my own capacity for better local and regional outcomes. I am a business owner, and have a background in communications and strategic development.

But home always calls us to serve, especially when you’re wanting to give your children the upbringing you had. A proud mother of three, it is my children that are the reason I move with deep intention and focus to make Tauranga the best little city in the country for all who call Tauranga Moana home.