Carmel Sepuloni final collage

Carmel Sepuloni was born, raised and schooled in Waitara, Taranaki. She moved to Auckland in 1996 to attend the Auckland College of Education and University of Auckland where she attained a Diploma Teaching (Primary) and a Bachelor of Education respectively. lso holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Education. Before entering politics Carmel was a teacher, with teaching experience in Samoa and with Auckland Youth in alternative education programmes; an equity manager; and a research project manager in Pacific health at the University of Auckland. Carmel has two sons and is the Labour Candidate for Kelston.

MoT loves all Mums – what flavour are you? New Mum (with my 17 month old), Old Mum (with my 16 year old), Working Mum, Single Mum, Embarrassing Mum, Busy mum….Just Mum☺

Which Mum badges are you qualified to wear? I’m Pregnant, Dribbling, Crawling, Walking, Throwing a Tantrum, Asking “Why?” Starting School, Messy Bedrooms, Slamming Doors, Grunting, Smelly with Attitude.

In under 100 words tell us what the Labour Party electoral promise is for mums and families. 

Our whole focus is on what is best for NZ families.  Some of the biggest issues facing NZ families are low wages, high cost of living and unaffordable housing.  These are issues that Labour is committed to addressing.  Labour has prioritised children at this election and are committed to tackling the high rates of poverty that we face as a country.  We have an economic plan that puts people at the centre, with an unrelenting focus on quality education and healthcare for all New Zealanders.  We want NZ to be the best place in the world to raise a family.

List three things that have changed since you decided to run as a Labour Party candidate in the 2014 Election. 

  1. My face is on signs all around the electorate – including across the road from my son’s high school
  2. My son’s high school peers now recognise me and call me ‘aunty’ or randomly yell out ‘Carmel for Kelston’ whenever they see me.
  3. I have to remember to always leave the house in a presentable state.  My face and name are now on my car so people take a second look when I’m driving by.  I’m really nicely made up in the photo so I don’t want people seeing me for real and saying I look terrible in real life!


What are your words of wisdom for fellow MoTs on jiggling the juggle?  Just do it.  Everything has a way of falling in to place if you have the right people around you to support.  Support is crucial – I could not do all that I do if I didn’t have my retired father living with my family and on hand to babysit, clean the house, cook, make sure there is food in the cupboard etc etc.  With that one constant person on hand at home, kids can still retain that stability and consistency that they need, despite the chaotic crazy life their mum might be living.  Try to involve your kids as much as possible but only to the extent that they are comfortable. 

What three words would your friends use to describe you?

  1. Determined
  2. Strong
  3. Hardworking (in saying this, if there was a fourth word I’m sure they would add sociable)


What did you want to be when you grew up?  An anthropologist, paleontologist, lawyer, teacher, doctor, politician, newsreader, radio DJ, business owner, CEO……lots of different things at different stages of my life.  I’m only 37 so I’m not even half way through my working career and I still have things I’d like to do ‘after’ politics.  

What is your biggest fear? I’m going to give you three☺

  1. My children being seriously hurt
  2. Letting people down who need my help
  3. Dying young and leaving my children with no mother


What is your favourite thing to do on Sunday? I love summer-time Sundays.  On a Sunday afternoon I love spending time with my kids at Auckland’s beaches – hiring a bike and putting the baby on the back, picnics, ice cream, swimming and walking.  I went for a walk up Mt Albert on Sunday and thought – Yay!  It’s nearly the end of August – Spring will be here soon and Summer is just around the corner.  Summer-time Sundays are the best!

What embarrassing incident have you never gotten over?  After I had my youngest son last year (Isaiah) I went back to my job as CEO of a health provider, with him tow, on a casual basis (he was just a few weeks old).  I had a board meeting and thought it would be fine to take him.   I fed him and changed him just before the meeting so I thought I had everything sorted.  My board of directors were all men.  During the meeting he demanded a feed so I had to discretely feed him at the board table during the meeting (no easy feat as I was just getting use to breastfeeding in front of people).  And then just as he’d finished his awkward feed, while I was reporting, I felt something warm on my hand and realised his poo was exploding out the side of his nappy and on to me.  Needless to say, I had to excuse myself from the meeting to clean us both up.  I was so embarrassed.  It’s not the picture of professionalism that we all like to paint.  Fortunately I had an understanding and supportive board.

Life is good when my kids are healthy.  My eldest son is doing well at school.  The sun is shining.  My house is clean and warm.  My washing is done.  My cupboards are filled with yummy healthy food.  My bills are paid.  I’ve had a productive week. And when it’s one of those beautiful summer-time Sundays and I have a day off work to spend with my kids.

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