Dr Emily Henderson
Last night, the Labour Party named Whangarei Family Court lawyer, Dr Emily Henderson, as its candidate to contest the
Whangarei seat in the September general election.
Emily has lived in Whangarei since she was seven years old, attending Kaurihohore Primary, Whangarei Intermediate and
Tikipunga High School. On leaving school she studied law at Auckland University and then did her PhD at Cambridge
University in England. In 2005 she and her husband - Thomas Biss– came home to raise their four children
“I was a real country kid, and we wanted our kids to have that sort of freedom, and to grow up close to my mum and dad
and my siblings and their kids. We love living here. With Whangarei you’ve got a great little city but within ten
minutes you’re in the country or at the beach. It’s big enough to be exciting and small enough to care.”
Emily says she will prioritise child poverty, housing, and job creation as well as giving her full support to the Kia
"It's such an honour to have the Labour nomination for my own home town," she said. “We know this is an awesome place
but we have big challenges with poverty and joblessness. We need someone in Parliament who will fight for our people,
and there’s no doubt it’s better for Whangarei to have an MP actually inside the government, working for us."
"The Labour-led government’s response to Covid has shown that Labour is the party that puts people first, and that
pragmatism and commitment is what will ensure our recovery now.”
Emily balances working with raising four children and a stellar academic career, winning NZ’s premier International
Research Fellowship from the NZ Law Foundation in 2012, the first woman and the first working lawyer to do so and going
on to win an international award for her academic writing in 2015.
Her efforts contributed to the Whangarei Court initiative that has since gone national in the Sexual Violence Court
Pilot, and to the new Sexual Offences Bill currently before Parliament.
“As a working lawyer I know up close and personal the challenges people face going to court. As an academic, I put my
efforts into finding ways to do things better and safer," she says.
"My mum and dad taught us that if you see a problem, you don’t sit back and wait for someone else to fix it: You get
She is currently working on a new project designed to improve the ways Family Court lawyers work with whanau.
Emily says recovering from the Covid-19 crisis means that more than ever we need innovative, pragmatic thinkers and
"And that's what I am.
"We need to respond to the current crisis, but we also need to make sure we seize the opportunity to translate it into
real, lasting change towards a sustainable future.”