Decades of service honoured2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
After a lifetime of service and activism, former MP, Carol Beaumont, received the NZ Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. She was recognised for more than 35 years of work in the Union and Women’s movements.
Carol says she was surprised by the award and had no idea she had been nominated. She added that it was nice to see that work in the Women’s and Labour movements is recognised.
Although her first paid job as a union representative was in 1983, her activism goes back to high school and University, where she was on various student councils. At teacher’s college, her involvement with the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations led on to working in the union movement.
Aside from periods in Britain and Australia, where she worked for women’s health organisations, the majority of her working life has been with trade unions. “I have been fortunate that my paid and unpaid work has always reflected my values,” she says.
Originally from the Waikato, Carol’s connection with Onehunga began after returning from Sydney in 1995 to work for the old National Distribution Union, now part of First Union, on Church Street. A few years later she moved to Royal Oak.
Carol entered Parliament as a Labour List MP in 2008, after contesting the Maungakiekie seat in the election. Although she narrowly missed out on re-election in 2011, she returned to the house as List MP from 2013 to 2014. Her office was in Onehunga, and she always considered herself to be a voice for the local community.
During her career, Carol was a member of the Pay and Employment Equity Taskforce and General Secretary of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions from 2003 to 2008. She is currently a board member of the National Council of Women and was President of its Auckland branch from 2015 to 2020. She now works for the International Trade Union Confederation’s Global Organising Academy in the Asia Pacific region and remains involved in politics, recently becoming the Vice President of the Labour Party.
Carol Beaumont awarded the NZ Order of Merit