"I didn't want to sit round the table in 20 years with my kids and have them say to me ‘Dad, you could have done more’."

This is the thought that motivated Sampsa Kiuru to stand as the Green candidate in the Waitaki electorate.

Originally from Finland, he trained as a medical doctor in the States. However the focus on money in medical practice there lead him to a 6 month stint in New Zealand – 20 years ago. "I liked the pace of life, I liked the people, I liked the outdoors, so I stayed."

He now lives in Clyde with his wife, a rural G.P. and 3 children aged between 2 and 9 years. He is a hands-on Dad, works part-time at Dunstan Hospital as a Rural Hospital Specialist and also teaches rural health topics through University of Otago. 

"I have always been a green person – interested in sustainability, ecology and a fair and equal society." Sampsa is a role model for living a green way of life and making it fun. The house he built is an award-winning sustainable home that would be the most visited building project in the district with many tours and workshops held there throughout its construction. Coming from Finland, where he saw the benefits of free, cooked school lunches, he is a welcome face at Clyde School when he cooks international flavour lunches for the kids. The school staff joked that they wouldn't vote for him because they didn't want to lose him to Wellington! The Kiuru family walks and cycles wherever they can and Sampsa is a keen advocate for safe walking and cycling in the district. His interests include cross-country skiing with the family, hunting, tramping, cooking and reading.

His top campaign issue is addressing climate change, followed by protection of the natural environment especially waterways and biodiversity. "As a doctor, I try to put things in balance. If you have high blood pressure, we need to lower it – and it is the same with nature. For our communities to survive and thrive, we have to help the natural world get back in balance."

He believes the Green Party offers the best future for rural communities as they have policies around equitable sharing of resources and appropriate decision-making that would ensure rural voices at the tables where the big decisions are made. Rural people should have the same quality schools and medical care as everyone else. This will enable all our communities to thrive.

Sampsa Kiuru is a realist, he's practical, positive and people-oriented. Perhaps because of his training in medicine, he sees what needs to happen to make things better and communicates it in a clear and simple way. You just want to follow his prescription!

Contact Sampsa here: centralotago@greens.org.nz