Rachel Reese (née Hadley) attended St Hilda's in the 1970s. Elected Nelson’s first woman Mayor in 2013, and re-elected in 2016 and 2019, Mayor Rachel Reese has served on Nelson City Council for five terms, previously as a Councillor and Deputy Mayor.
Prior to entering Local Government, Rachel operated a Resource Management Consultancy engaging with business and industry sectors across Te Tauihu, building strong links with community and environmental organisations, and actively involved in central and local government policy development.
Rachel is serving her second term as a LGNZ National Council Board Member. Rachel has represented the Local Government sector on several Ministerial Advisory Groups and holds the position of Deputy Chair of the Regional Sector. She has been a Cawthron Trust Board Member since 2013, a member and associate member of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand since 2006, and member of the Resource Management Law Association for more than 15 years.
Rachel maintains an active interest and involvement with business and industry skills development and training through a wide range of networks including Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, Tuia Rangitahi Leadership, industry innovation days, and as a member of Project Kōkiri Leadership Team and a Steering Group member of Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy.
Rachel is a member of the Whakatū Marae Komiti and is a member of the Rotary Club of Nelson having been awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship in 2018. She recently completed an international fellowship with Vital Voices Foundation that supports outstanding women political leaders making and influencing policy across the globe.