Born and raised in Wellington in a family involved with many social justice issues as well as the arts, Catherine became an MP in 2008.
Her work in Parliament has ranged across environment and social justice issues. She is active in promoting the clean up of toxic sites around Aotearoa and supporting a sustainable forestry industry both here in New Zealand and abroad.
She has previously worked as a community liaison for the Department of Conservation and as a toxics campaigner for Greenpeace. She also spent many years co-ordinating Coromandel Watchdog, a community group defending the Coromandel Peninsula from mining.
“Our group, Coromandel Watchdog, represented every community and we were very effective at non-violent confrontation,” she says. “I remember hundreds of people attending sit-ins on drilling rigs day and night and we organised ourselves without internet or cellphones. It was a great way to learn about effective organising and building strong coalitions.”