"We have known Mary Bourke for the past twenty years as she has worn her various hats in regional governance roles, but the theme of our relationship has been friendship. Mary is a compassionate and understanding person who works across a range of contacts in the community equally, regardless of social status, income, age occupation or ethnicity. She puts her energies where they can best be used and are most needed, but always towards getting a desirable outcome for everyone. Mary never loses sight of what is best for her community in spite of where her own interests lie. She makes big sacrifices to enhance our region and its prospects for the future. She is tireless in her enthusiasm in this regard and for these things we love her to bits."


"Eating the elephant one bite at a time, as Mary puts it, is a metaphor for tackling life's challenges that has stayed with me. It has helped me focus on one small task at a time and I have shared it with friends when they are feeling overwhelmed. When Mary and I met several times over a few months she helped me celebrate my achievements and readjust my goals without dwelling on what I had yet to accomplish. She is really good at asking the right question to get you thinking about where your priorities lie and helps you to consider possible lines of direction. She is easy to talk to, allowing you the space to get all your thoughts out. I would highly recommend her as a life coach to anyone seeking some guidance."

“Working with Mary was an awesome experience. She is honest, professional and enabled me to show up, openly, honestly and with intention. She also has a wicked sense of humour which is necessary in this work. Her ability to offer real perspective, practical solutions and effective life strategies has been invaluable. I would highly recommend working with Mary”


“Mary is excellent! Responsive to the direction the conversation went, while covering all material”
“Charismatic – loved it!”
“Mary’s extensive involvement in community holds major mana!”
“Enjoyed Mary’s mix of formal and informal approach. Able to chat/ask questions but also get through the info.”
“Very relaxed but professional and knowledgeable.”
“Mary was excellent. Great listener, and encouraged people’s participation.”
“I really liked not doing role plays”


"Your contribution to the work of our Board is always perceptive, lateral and forthright. You are provocative in the very best sense of that word, always tinged with humour and empathy, but never letting go of your integrity and the clear principles which shape and guide you. I have seen your resilience and your courage. It is great to know you can be both a strong colleague and good friend without compromising either!"

"I worked with Mary as advisor on some of the more difficult legal issues during her successful Mayoralty at South Taranaki and at the national level with Local Government New Zealand. She quickly won my admiration for her savvy approach to resolving problems. She is very adept at identifying the key issues and the opportunities for achieving positive outcomes. She displays a great combination of common sense and sensitivity, and always with the sense of humour that makes sure we don't take ourselves too seriously!"

"Mary is a natural leader of people. She is a 'straight down the line' person who is courageous enough to challenge someone's position and secure enough in herself to be challenged. She has an obvious presence about her and yet demonstrates considerable humility, with a preparedness to roll her sleeves up and do the hard yards. She has a capacity to easily engage with others; and while demonstrating an unwavering determination to achieving goals, she is inclusive of others, actively seeking advice and consistently acknowledging the value of other people's contribution."

"Bugger - You bring a real balance to the male dominated hierarchy of Chairs and CEOs - not only that you are fearless in debate!! - I have appreciated your candour and intelligent analysis - I have learned a lot from you and trust your skills will still be available to the community."


"The ceremony was perfect. Mary did a great job. It was everything we hoped for and loads more. Casual and poignant; a bit of a laugh but serious too! A lot of people said it was the best service at a wedding they had been to."

Mary gave a compassionate and thoughtful service at both my parent's funerals. The eulogies were thoroughly researched and gave a balanced story of family history and humour. We found Mary a pleasure to work with and very professional.

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
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