When her classmates at primary school wanted to be princesses and firemen, Tania Tapsell wanted to be prime minister. No biggie!
When I was 14 I was part of the city’s Youth Council and since then I’ve sat on different youth councils, and been a member of various advisory groups and funding panels for the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Youth Development. That’s given me good governance experience and also shown me the power of individuals to make change.
At age 21, Tania ran for her local Council – Rotorua District, and got in. She’s the youngest councillor by far, with some other councillors being in longer then she’s been alive!
Tania is a Te Arawa, Ngati Whakaue rangatahi, born and raised in Rotorua. And if the surname Tapsell seems familiar, her great uncle Sir Peter Tapsell was the first Maori Speaker of the House. Like him she is establishing herself as a leader of the people with her strong belief that “people are our greatest asset”.
Outside of Council Tania left school at 16 to pursue business studies. Now qualified she has spent time with Ngati Whakaue Management Office where she developed a Rangatahi Plan to improve educational and employment opportunities for youth in her region. And afterwards joined BNZ Business Partners where she focused on growing the maori economy.
For many years she was a member of advisory groups and funding panels for the Ministry of Social Development and the former Ministry of Youth Development. Her dedication and involvement resulted in her being selected to represented New Zealand at a young leaders conference in Taiwan, China.
When she’s not round the council table, Tania is a keen sportswoman, and in the past has represented New Zealand’s Maori U21 mixed touch team, and held national titles in Gymnastics and Cross-Country.