Despite owning a business, being a local politician, sportsperson and a member of several community groups, Tessa Berger is ready to take on more.
Tessa, aged 22, is five months into her role as the youngest Rodney Local Board member and has found it both challenging and rewarding.
“The commitment required in the role is what I expected,” she says.
“The real challenge has been navigating the red tape of Council.”
Tessa discovered this when working on a parking plan for Opahi Bay.
“People have been trying to get that sorted since Rodney District Council days.
“I had to knock on every door to finally get it done.”
She says working on issues like the Opahi Bay plan is the satisfying part of the job.
“I enjoy working at a community level and making positive changes in those communities.
“It’s great feeling like I’m already executing change in the role.”
Tessa says there are a number of major issues that everyone is focused on like roading and town planning, so not overlooking smaller issues is important.
She says one of her priorities is to engage young people as she believes they are an underutilised resource.
As well as working up to 40 hours a week for the Board, Tessa became the first woman footballer in New Zealand to sign an ambassador’s contract with Adidas last month.
This involves presenting new gear in Adidas campaigns, with other sports women such as Black Sticks player Gemma McCaw.
She believes Adidas selected her as she has played at a national level in football and manages her own brand with The Merchandise Collective.
Tessa recently transferred from Forrest Hill Milford to Glenfield Rovers. Last year she captained Forrest Hill to victory in the New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup final and was awarded most valuable player.
She said she changed clubs to get more support.
“I wanted to be in an environment where female footballers were given the best possible resources.
“We had to fundraise to get to the knockout cup semi-final and I doubt the men would have been left to their own devices to pay for the equivalent.”
Tessa has also joined Crimson Education, based in Auckland City. Her role will be to connect top academics and sporting people in New Zealand with scholarships in the United Kingdom and United States.
Tessa played football and studied at the University in Florida after winning a scholarship when she was 16.