Hannah Norton

Hannah Norton, is an inspiring young woman from small town Mangawhai, with a nous for social entrepreneurship and passion for using her skills to support mothers in her community.

After eight years working as a journalist for newspapers and as a freelancer, Hannah returned to university to study law, travel and work as a freelance writer. Now, with more than eight years’ experience in professional communications and writing, she is employed by a top-tier national law firm, overseeing their public relations and communications.

Hannah has been awarded the Fujitsu-JAIMS Global Leaders’ scholarship, an intensive management education programme, that sees scholars travel across the Asia-Pacific region gaining in depth, first-hand experience about these countries and their cultures. “It has the overarching goal of creating business leaders who aspire to do good in the community,” says Hannah.

The programme was devised by Japanese management professor, Ikujiro Nonaka, who has been named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the world’s most influential business thinkers. “His main driver is creating global business leaders that focus on the ‘common good’ and that was evident from the curriculum. We spent a week in the social enterprise in Thailand’s Chiang Rai, Doi Tung, learning about how the Mae Fah Luang Foundation transformed the area from one of the world’s most prolific opium producers into a sustainable village, with a far higher standard of living in the space of 30 years,” says Hannah.

A key part of the Fujitsu-JAIMS Global Leaders’ scholarship programme is the Capstone Project. “We each had to work on a project that we will implement in our own communities for the common good,” says Hannah.

Reducing New Zealand’s horrific suicide rate is Hannah’s key driver, and what her Capstone Project focuses on. “Just before my third birthday, my birth mother, Andrea Norton, committed suicide. I say her name because I never want it to be forgotten. It is hard to explain how it feels growing up as the child of a parent who has taken their own life and it has certainly involved a lot of introspective soul searching to get where I am now at 30,” says Hannah. 

Hannah was pretty proud to take home first place in the Capstone Project section of the scholarship and is now focussing on the implementation phase. “The project will target new mums, with the goal of addressing post-natal depression, as well as general connectedness for new mums, at a community level,” says Hannah. The aim is to launch the first event in Mangawhai in September, before being rolled out to the rest of Kaipara and Northland. 

If you’d like to get involved, Hannah would love to hear from volunteers and local businesses who want to help with this demographic.