Dame Sukhinder "Sukhi" Kaur Gill Turner DNZM (born Sukhinder Kaur Gill, 1952) was the Mayor of Dunedin, New Zealand, from 1995 until her retirement from the position in 2004. She was also regarded by some as New Zealand's most prominent politician from the country's Indian community.
Turner was born in Ludhiana, the largest city in the Indian state of Punjab to Squadron leader Jasbir Singh Gill and Premjit Kaur. Her birth name was Sukhinder Kaur Gill. She is a Sikh. She attended Bethany College, West Virginia, in the United States, gaining qualifications in history and political science. She moved to New Zealand after marrying Glenn Turner, a prominent New Zealand cricket player, in July 1973. Sukhi and Glenn Turner settled in Dunedin in 1982. They have two children.
Turner took part in a wide range of community work, focusing particularly on education. She took an active role in school committees and associations, and in 1992, successfully stood for election to the Dunedin City Council. After a three year term on the Council, Turner chose to contest the mayoralty, challenging long-serving incumbent Richard Walls. She was successful, and was subsequently re-elected twice. Turner announced that she would retire from the position in October 2004, when her third term expired. She was replaced by Peter Chin.
Life after politics
In the Queen's Birthday Honours 2002 Turner was appointed Distinguished Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government. In the Special Honours 2009 Turner redesignated her DCNZM to a Dame Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit.
In early 2004, Turner was among the recipients of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, an award given by the Indian government to honour those who have made a significant contribution to Indian immigrant communities in other countries.
- Singh, Teena (December 2, 2001). "Ludhiana girl’s hat-trick as mayor in New Zealand". The Tribune, Chandigarh. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- "The Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee Honours 2002" (5 June 2002) 57 New Zealand Gazette 1553.
- Special Honours List (12 August 2009) 118 New Zealand Gazette 2691
- Official profile
- News report after Turner was re-elected for a third term
- Reasons for award of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman
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