Carterton District Council whanau is mourning the loss of one our leaders, Georgina Beyer, our Mayor from 1995 to 2000.

Ms Beyer made Carterton and Wairarapa her home, and then served her community with distinction, first as a Councillor, then as Mayor of our District, and then as a Member of Parliament.

Her achievements in those positions were notable as the world’s first openly transgender Mayor, and subsequently the world’s first transgender MP.

She retired from Parliament in 2007 but continued to advocate for LGBTIQA+ rights.

Beyer was a keynote speaker at the First and Second International Conferences on LGBT Human Rights in Montreal [2006] and Copenhagen [2009].

In 2018, she spoke at public events at the UK’s prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

In 2020, those achievements and her advocacy for LGBTIQA+ rights were recognised when she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit [MNZM].

Hon. Ron Mark, Mayor of Carterton, said that recognition was long overdue.

“She was respected, elected, and selected on merit.  Wairarapa folk can be proud that they were the first in the world to do that, and see past ethnicity, sexuality, and choose a person solely on their merits.

“’Rural, conservative’ Carterton elected her a councillor, and then Mayor. Wairarapa, a supposedly conservative place, chose her as MP.

“She shaped people’s thoughts and people minds, and made us all confront our prejudices. First in Carterton, then Wairarapa, and then New Zealand and the world. She certainly helped shape mine.”

Mayor Mark and Carterton District Council send aroha and sincere condolences to Ms Beyer’s friends and whanau.

Further acknowledgements of Ms Beyer’s life and service in our District will be announced in due course.