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Sunday 11 October 2009

Maungakiekie Community Board member Simon Randall

Posted in: Hall of Fame
By - 2nd March 2008

Simon Randall
This high-achieving 25-year-old Secondary School teacher works on his community board as an advocate for citizens on all local issues. We hear you're now on the Maungakiekie Community Board. Where is that, and what does your role entail?

Simon: Maungakiekie covers Auckland's Onehunga, Ellerslie, Oranga, Te Papapa and the surrounding areas. I'm still figuring things out, but my role is mainly to be an advocate for the people in all local issues. I am the local spokesman on transport so I take a lead when it comes to cycleways, walkways, rail and roading in my area.

What attracts you to politics?

When it comes down to it we all want to look after those around us and make a positive difference. The best way to do that is to engage in the system and use it to achieve real change.

You're also a Secondary School teacher - which subjects do you teach and what do you love - and hate - about being a teacher?

I'm a Biology teacher. I love my subject, and the students are great (most of the time). Teaching is a job unlike most - it's different every day and keeps me on my toes. For the most part I love my job, although it can certainly wear you out and be rather inflexible at times.

What's your background, and where did you grow up?

I grew up in Onehunga and haven't moved all that much. I'm currently living in Grey Lynn but am looking to move back there soon. I am one of four kids and have a twin brother. My family is Catholic so I went to Catholic primary and secondary schools (although I'm no longer religious), after which I studied Biology and then teaching at the University of Auckland. My background and family have really shaped my political outlook on life.

What's it like being a twin? Is your brother different from you in any way?

Since I've always been a twin it's difficult to imagine not being one. We do have a lot in common, but we do have some differences. Apparently he's the ‘good' twin, although I'm not sure if that makes me the naughty one. He gets on with people a bit better, and is a much better cook despite his being a rampant vegetarian.

When did you come out as gay, and what was it like for you at the time?

It was when I was about 18, and I guess it was a bit of a non-event. Everyone was pretty good about it.

What's your relationship status?

Single, but looking to do something about it.

What do you think are the most pressing issues currently facing the NZ gay community?

Making schools more supportive of queer students. Some schools are great at supporting all their students but not enough take responsibility for the welfare of their GBLTI kids. Schools need to start actively looking after queer students and not just assume than an absence of visible homophobia means that it's a safe environment.

What's your worst habit?

Over-thinking things. Oh, and good dark chocolate.

Are there any books are you currently reading or recommending?

I'm terrible with reading too many books concurrently. At the moment I'm concentrating of finishing Peter Gluckman's Mismatch, although I always have time for a Pratchett or two.

Your favourite music at the moment?
I like an eclectic mix of things, anything from Snow Patrol and Greg Johnson to Powderfinger, Coldplay, John Mayer, Rufus, and Opera (I'm a sucker for Puccini).

Your favourite movies?

I have a thing for movies that make me cry (like Goodbye Lenin, Dear Frankie, Latter Days), artsy ones that amuse me (like Driving Lessons, the Darjeeling Express, Dr Strangelove, Juno) and plenty of others.

Your favourite TV programmes?

I'm suffering from Project Runway withdrawal at the moment. House, Greys, Scrubs. The Daily Show never fails to amuse.

Your favourite websites?
I check pretty regularly, and at the moment I'm checking out a lot of sites to do with the US elections. I find YouTube far too addictive, and Facebook is always interesting.

Who in the world (including NZ) would you most like to have a coffee and a chat with and why?
My mum, I never really get to see her enough. Either her or Fidel Castro, now that he's got some time on his hands.

If you could have one wish granted what would it be?

Travel, although Dan Carter ranks up there.

Who are your LGBT heroes?

If I started listing names I'd surely miss someone out but it's all those people who made it so much easier to be who I am and love who I love.

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