"Just do it" is Vicki Buck’s approach to community development. For her, it is very much about having a go, and giving yourself and others the freedom to take risks, have fun and make mistakes.
Vicki was Mayor of Christchurch, New Zealand (NZ), for nine years from 1989 which gave her a chance to put her philosophy of community leadership into practice. She is now researching the changing role of Mayors.
Vicki is internationally recognised for leading the turnaround in Christchurch as a city and community.
Vicki Buck stood down as Mayor in 1998 and since then has worked as Development Manager for Christchurch Polytechnic. She is also a founder of the New Zealand de Bono Innovation Institute, which promotes creative thinking, and of Adrenalin Ventures, a NZ South Island venture capital company. She is a member of the NZ Government's Science and Innovation Advisory Council, on the Board of Netball NZ and Chair of the NZ Learning Discovery Trust.
Vicki has a MA (Hons) from Canterbury University in Political Science because as she says “it was by far the most fun subject”. “Lincoln University gave me a PhD in Commerce as well, which is an even better way of getting a degree.(Honorary PhD)”
Vicki is a high energy, effervescent, dynamic personality which is reflected in her sons – “I have two boys: One 12-year-old who wants to be a scientist and millionaire and a five-year-old who wants to be a triceratops dinosaur when he gets bigger.”
What has Vicki done – “All sorts: Truck driver, taxi driver, social worker for 5 years, employment researcher, Elected to Christchurch City Council at age 19, then a did a five year stint as one of five Local Government Commissioners from 1984 to 1989 responsible for reorganisation of local government in New Zealand. That was awesome, but not the most popular thing to do at the time. Then I thought I should do what I had wanted to do for a very long time, and ran for Mayor of Christchurch. I was elected and then elected again and again. Fantastic opportunity to turn the city around, get it going, and make it feel like a great place to be. There are always new and exciting things to learn and to do, but 9 years was almost burn-out even for me.”