Catherine Chu: Knocking on 8000 doors

Catherine Chu: Knocking on 8000 doors

By Li Huizi

When 23-year-old Authorised Financial Advisor, Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board Member and Council Candidate for
Riccarton Catherine Chu knocked on the first door of her ward, she was quite scared because she did not know what sort of response she would get.

After knocking on doors around thousands of households in Riccarton, Chu was“ really overwhelmed and super grateful” because it has been really positive and the constituency “really appreciate my youth and my enthusiasm.”

“I’m trying to knock as many doors as possible because I want to be able to connect, meet and hear from as many residents as possible,” Chu told Palmary.

An elected Community Board Member at Christchurch City Council since 2016, Chu stands for City Councillor for the first time in the 2019 October 12 Local Body Elections under the Independent Citizens banner.

Born in Christchurch, raised in Riccarton and having served on the Community Board, Chu said she has a deep understanding of the community. She is fluent in Korean and English, and with a study background in Chinese, Japanese and Te Reo Māori.

“My parents come from South Korea and they moved to Christchurch in 1995. As you can imagine immigrating to a new country where you know nobody, and there are hardly any other Korean people around. It was really hard for them to integrate into
the community,” Chu said.

“I remember them telling us that if it wasn’t for the people they made them feel so welcomed into Christchurch, they would have never stayed here, but they did, and so I have always had the sense of giving back to the community and doing
voluntary and community services, she added.

When Chu was elected on to the Community Board in 2016, she was 20 years old. She went to the University of Canterbury at the age of 15, and at age 18, she started working full time as a Senior Personal Banker with the ANZ and had converted all her studies to part time due to this. She graduated in December 2017.

She was a Business Manager with Westpac from 2016 and since 2018 she started working as a Partner of BNZ Private Bank (Private Banking Manager).

She said she started to feel more passion towards Christchurch over the past three years as a Community Board member, and wanted to make a real difference and take part in making real positive change for Christchurch.

Chu said she has been passionate about being able to represent diverse communities and bringing people of various ethnic backgrounds closer together in harmony,“ because I know how hard it was for people like my parents back in those beginning years to integrate into the community.”

An Authorised Financial Adviser, she calls for actions on reviewing City Council spending, ensuring rates are affordable and restoring basic infrastructure and services to the city.

As a young woman entering politics, Chu believes it is really important that young people really do get involved with local governance, as they are“ the future for Christchurch.” Her elder sister Linda Chen is a Community Board Member in the Harewood Ward.

Young people bring in new and fresh perspectives to the Council and the same goes for older people who have wisdom, experience and knowledge, Chu said, adding“ if different diverse groups from different backgrounds and age groups will come together and share their ideas, perspectives, knowledge and experience, we can really make a positive change.”

Chu’s goals if elected include reviewing Council spending and ensuring rates are affordable; preventing permanent chlorination of water; promoting community-based decision making; and addressing mental health issues.

“Where do we want Christchurch to be in 10 years? It’s now time for a new face and a new perspective on our City Council,” she said.

People can start voting from when they receive their voting papers, which will be mailed out from September 20.