Green and keen to make a difference

HOLLY MATRIMONY: Holly and partner Dave.
HOLLY MATRIMONY: Holly and partner Dave.

Holly Walker , 29, arrived in Parliament last year, one of six new Green Party MPs. The former media adviser is a keen cycling advocate, a proud product of the Hutt Valley, and a Rhodes scholar.

Her portolios include being spokeswoman for arts and culture, and youth. She recently wrote to Parliament's Speaker over allegations that she had heard fellow MPs joking about rape.

The complaint was later withdrawn and blamed on a misunderstanding.

Where do you live:

Petone, where I have lived for most of my life. I love it.

What is your family situation?

My partner Dave and I had a civil union in 2011. No children, yet, but a small and crazy cat suffices for now.

What schools did you attend?

Waterloo School, Hutt Intermediate, and Hutt Valley High School. I have a BA (Hons) in English and politics from the University of Otago; and a MPhil in development studies from the University of Oxford, where I went on a Rhodes Scholarship in 2007.

Can you remember what first sparked your interest in the environment?

When my dad (one of them!) joined our family and started taking me outdoors - throwing me in rivers, strapping skis to my feet and pushing my down mountains, and coaxing me up hills when tramping. From him I learned that we live in the most beautiful country in the world, but we have a duty to protect it.

When did you first take an interest in politics?

Watching a video in 4th form social studies about the 1981 Springbok tour, I was struck by the passion of a young Rod Donald, and went home and told my mum I wished we had things to protest about these days. She told me there were plenty and to start looking around. I never met Rod, but in this way he inspired me on my political journey.

What has been the most surprising thing about Parliament?

The level of cross-party co-operation behind the scenes. If we showed this during question time, I think the public would have much more confidence in us.

And what is the most frustrating thing?

Being in Opposition.

What has been the best moment so far?

Being part of a Parliament that voted two-thirds in favour of marriage equality. I can't wait to tell my grandchildren. My own member's bill to create a lobbying disclosure regime passing its first reading with unanimous support was a close second.

What keeps you awake at night?

Usually the state of my inbox.

What's on your iPod?

At the moment, I'm thrashing Lawrence Arabia and Ladyhawke's new albums, as well as Minuit and Florence and the Machine, which are great for running to. Fleetwood Mac's greatest hits are always at hand for emergencies.

Who is your favourite New Zealand musician or band?

The songwriting genius of Don McGlashan is hard to beat.

What is your favourite place overseas?

Oxford, where we lived for two years while I did my masters. It's a magical place full of wonderful people - even if it is a bit of a bubble from the real world.

What four famous people would you invite for dinner?

Kim Hill, Robyn Malcolm, Sam Hunt, and Piri Weepu. I guess my ideal self is sort of a combination of Kim and Robyn, so I would probably just fawn all over them, but Kim would be able to get the juiciest conversation out of everyone, and Robyn would take my side if there were any political debates. Sam Hunt could tell us a poem (and my partner Dave would swoon), and Piri because he would take charge if the conversation took a turn for the worse, and because I hear he plays a mean hand of 500.

What is your favourite book?

The Alex Quartet by Tessa Duder. Classic New Zealand young adult fiction which had a profound impact on me growing up.

What was the last movie you saw?

Take This Waltz. Romantic, quirky, SAD, and oh-so hip.

Pinot noir or beer?

I love both, but at the moment, neither. I've given up alcohol for a month as part of the Hello Sunday Morning movement, which challenges people to put alcohol aside for a while and blog about the experience.

Interview: PAUL EASTON

The Dominion Post