Mayor Kokshoorn credits good Catholic up bringinging for his success

Tony Kokshoorn, mayor of the Grey District since 2004 credits his success as a businessman and politician to family, his community and lessons learnt in his Catholic upbringing.

“I went to a Marist Brothers school. I was Catholic, I had good morals instilled by my parents and my school and they have stuck with me.”

“I still go to church and I think it is important. Christianity has waned in New Zealand, but I think the rules you learn as a Catholic, as a Christian, really, hold you in good stead.”

Kokshoorn, 61, admits the “ants in his pants” that blighted his progress at school are still present, but he harnesses his energy in business, local government and fundraising for the community.

(The photograph above shows Kokshoorn taking a plunge in a swollen river at mid- winter as part a money raising effort)

A successful car dealer and newspaper proprietor, Kokshoorn was propelled to national prominence when the Pike River Mine disaster claimed the lives of 29 miners and contractors in 2010.

In 2012 he told the New Zealand Herald, “I believe in the afterlife. I have Christian values. I believe in family and the right for everyone to work.

” My mother also taught me that you never tell a lie. And I never have. And that is someone who’s sold cars for years. That seems impossible, but what goes around comes around.”

When asked by Clare de Lore for a recent Listener column if religion helped him at the time of the crisis he said,  ” Without a doubt, along with my family and the wider community in New Zealand.”

“This was the first time a mining disaster of that magnitude was seen on television screens in a serialised manner. It brought a lot of pressure – for example, through the media – but that didn’t bother me. It was my job to front up.”


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