National selects Māngere and Manurewa candidates

The New Zealand National Party

Today National has selected two new Auckland candidates with Agnes Loheni in Māngere and Nuwanthie Samarakone in Manurewa.

Ms Loheni has been a National MP since early 2019 and is also an accomplished business woman in the manufacturing export and retail sector as an owner of the Pacific fashion brand called MENA. Ms Samarakone was born in Sri Lanka and is currently the founding CEO of ICE (Inspire, Create, Engage), an early-in-careers people consultancy firm.

“Māngere is a vibrant and diverse community with families and businesses working hard to get ahead,” Ms Loheni says.

“National has the experience and know how to put jobs back into our economy and support Māngere.

“Our community needs a National Government to guide us out of this economic crisis. National understands business and it is businesses that will create jobs for New Zealanders, not Wellington.

“I will be working hard to ensure we see a National Government this September because we cannot afford another Labour Government, definitely not in these uncertain times,” Ms Loheni says.

Ms Samarakone is excited to be selected as National’s candidate in Manurewa and is looking forward to hitting the campaign trail.

“The current Government has talked big, promised even more, but has failed to deliver even in the good times. It’s one thing to make lofty promises, but Manurewa deserves to have a Government it can rely on,” Ms Samarakone says

“We’ve seen failure after failure from the Government, whether it’s KiwiBuild or Light Rail, or more recently, keeping our borders tight with strict quarantining. National can be counted on to deliver.

“I’ll be fighting to ensure Manurewa has strong, local, National Party representation,” Ms Samarakone says.

Biographical Notes: Agnes Loheni

Ms Loheni is an accomplished business woman in the manufacturing, export and retail sector as an owner of the Pacific fashion brand called MENA. Established fifteen years ago as a home business in Samoa, the business expanded its operation to Auckland 10 years ago to expand its wholesale and export channels. In 2010, the business was awarded the MIT Pacific Business Trust ‘Pacific Exporter’ Award.

Passionate about growing Pacific success and enterprise, Ms Loheni provides her time freely to mentor small business owners and is regularly asked to share her business journey at community, school or business networks events.

Ms Loheni has been a National Member of Parliament since early 2019. During this term she has been the Party’s association spokesperson for Small Business and Pacific People and has been a member of the Social Services and Community Select Committee.

In between raising her family and building a business, Ms Loheni completed her Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical & Materials) degree from the University of Auckland. She won the SunPix – Pacific Peoples Award for Enterprise in 2015 and was the MIT Pacific Business Trust Exporter of the Year in 2010.

Ms Loheni is of Samoan descent was born and educated in Auckland. She lives in Auckland with her husband and their five children.

Biographical Notes: Nuwanthie Samarakone

Nuwanthie Samarakone is the founding CEO of ICE (Inspire, Create, Engage), an early-in-careers people consultancy firm specialising in designing, delivering and developing schemes for organisations looking to build talent pipelines for the future.

Born in Sri Lanka, Ms Samarakone attended Glendowie College and completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences at Auckland University.

Ms Samarakone’s experience building and running her own business has given her a unique perspective on the demands of small to medium sized businesses in New Zealand, as well as offshore markets, notably Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.

Some of the work ICE has been involved in includes building programs to support women to return to the workforce after a break in their careers, and attracting students to the public sector

Ms Samarakone is also a trustee of the Well Foundation charity board, the official charity supporting North Shore Hospital, Waitakere Hospital and Local Community Health Services.

Outside of her work, Ms Samarakone’s interests include health, wellbeing and fitness, nature and the environment, dance and music.

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