Margaret Kouvelis

Mayor of Manawatu

Margaret Kouvelis

Mayor of Manawatu

Biography

Margaret was a secondary teacher for over 30 years, heading up Biology, Art and Music Departments. Her work at Freyberg High School establishing the largest Music Department in the country where over 600 students learned instruments led to her becoming a Music Adviser to secondary schools.

Her interest in the professionalism of teachers led her to become an adviser to the Teacher Registration Board and in 2002 she became the first CEO of the NZ Teachers’ Council. Following her time there she established her own education consultancy and won contracts in Beijing and Qatar where she was involved in education reforms.

Her decision to run Poppies, a boutique bookstore has proved to be the perfect complement to her life in education. She opened Poppies Feilding in 2006 and a year later opened Poppies Wanganui which operated for three years. Poppies Feilding won best bookseller in the North Island 2010.

Because of her positive engagement with a thriving community, Margaret found herself elected as a Councillor for Manawatu District Council in 2010. Following a by-election in March 2012 she was elected Mayor of the Manawatu District and in 2013 was elected unopposed for a further three year term. Given her commitment to economic development and the exciting potential for the Manawatu Region she closed her Poppies bookstore in order to lead out important growth initiatives for the region.

She has initiated 21 Youth Ambassadors, aged 12- 24 for the Manawatu District as part of the Mayors Task Force for Jobs. She is currently the co-deputy chair of the national Mayors Taskforce. Retaining our youth by creating school to work pathways are part of her overall economic development strategy and commitment as a political leader of this region.