Mark Blumsky

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Mark Blumsky

Blumsky portrait.jpg
32nd Mayor of Wellington
In office
DeputyKerry Prendergast
Preceded byFran Wilde
Succeeded byKerry Prendergast
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for National Party List
In office
High Commissioner of New Zealand to Niue
In office
Preceded byJohn Bryan
Succeeded byRoss Ardern
Personal details
Born (1957-08-29) 29 August 1957 (age 62)
Nelson, New Zealand
Political partyNational
RelationsJohn Blumsky (father)

Mark Herbert Blumsky QSO (born 29 August 1957) is a former New Zealand politician and diplomat. He was Mayor of Wellington from 1995 to 2001, and a Member of Parliament for the National Party from 2005 to 2008. Blumsky was New Zealand's High Commissioner to Niue from 2010 to 2014.

Early life and family[edit]

Blumsky was born in Nelson in 1957, the son of broadcaster and journalist John Blumsky, and educated at St Bede's College and Linwood College in Christchurch.[1][2] Of Polish[2] and Jewish origin,[citation needed] Blumsky started work at Hannah's Footwear Company in 1976 aged 17.[dubious ] He progressed from salesperson, to merchandise manager, to footwear buyer, to national sales manager. In 1989 he founded Mischief Shoes, which grew into a nationwide multimillion-dollar chain. In 1995 he left to enter politics.

Mayor of Wellington[edit]

Blumsky was elected Mayor of Wellington in 1995 and re-elected in 1998. One of his main policies during the 1995 election campaign was that he would not allow the council to sell its remaining 51% share of Capital Power. However, during his first term in office Blumsky controversially agreed to sell the council's stake in the company,[3] citing commercially sensitive information. The remainder of his mayoralty focused on building Wellington's image as an exciting and diverse city to visit and to live in. He was also the inaugural patron of the Wellington Gay Business group GAP. Among other things, he developed Totally Wellington (the regional tourism promoter), established the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, and established infrastructure for the film industry.

Financial problems at Mischief Shoes, subsequent to his entering politics, prompted questions from critics and the media about whether he was responsible.

He took pride in living in an inner-city apartment and going out on the town in the evenings. A long-running saga was his good-humoured battle with well-known Courtenay Place busker 'Kenny', a cowboy hat-wearing country music singer whose amplifier was confiscated by the council after the volume annoyed other city apartment-dwellers.[4]

Blumsky retired in 2001 and endorsed then deputy mayor Kerry Prendergast as his successor. She went on to win the mayoralty in 2001 and was re-elected in 2004 and 2007.


After leaving office, Blumsky returned to business life. From October 2001 to September 2002 he co-ordinated the highly successful Wellington premieres of the first two movies in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy and managed the marketing of The Lord of the Rings collectibles for Weta Workshop. During the shooting of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King he took an active role, and was persuaded to throw the severed heads over a set wall onto a group of Knights. The results of this can be seen in the film during the buildup to the battle at Gondor.[5]

Blumsky was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services in the 2002 Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee Honours.[6]

From September 2002 to July 2004 Blumsky was founding director of Creative HQ, a business incubator for high-growth export-oriented start-ups. From August 2004 to May 2005 he was director (sales and marketing) for Norsewear, an iconic New Zealand clothing company with a multimillion-dollar turnover.

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2005–2008 48th List 36 National

In early 2004 Blumsky joined United Future at the urging of its leader Peter Dunne, an old school friend. Blumsky, dubbed by media the man with "the most charismatic eyebrows in politics", served as Party President and confirmed he was considering running for Parliament for the party. However, he resigned soon afterwards, citing a conflict of interest.

In October 2004, Blumsky announced that he would seek the National Party candidacy for the Wellington Central electorate, and was nominated unopposed in November. In June 2005 the National Party released its party list for the elections later that year and Blumsky was ranked 36.

His campaign was marred by an incident in which he received a black eye and other abrasions when returning home late at night. He said he did not recall the incident but believed he had been assaulted. Political opponents suggested he had been inebriated, and a witness reported that he was inebriated when she helped him to his door. Police investigated but no assailant was charged.

Blumksy was elected as a National list MP in the 2005 general election although his challenge to incumbent Wellington Central MP Marian Hobbs was unsuccessful, losing by 6,180 votes. In 2007, he announced that he would not stand again in the next election.[7]


In September 2010, Blumsky was appointed High Commissioner to Niue, replacing acting High Commissioner John Bryan.[8] He was succeeded by Ross Ardern in February 2014.[9]

Blumsky married a Niuean, Pauline Rex, in 2012 and now lives permanently on Niue.[10][11] He represented Niue in lawn bowls at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, competing in the men's pairs and men's four, but did not progress beyond the group stage in either event.[12][13]

External links[edit]

  • Mark Blumsky, centre, in 1996 (photo)
  • Mark Blumsky, centre, in 2001 (photo)
  • "Blumsky looks to start new family". Stuff/Fairfax. 28 July 2012.
  • "One term MP Blumsky calls it quits". Stuff/Fairfax. 24 September 2008.


  1. ^ "Blumsky, Mark". NZ House of Representatives. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b Crean, Mike (10 August 2013). "Doyen of broadcasting". The Press. p. 13.
  3. ^ Kedgley, Sue (19 March 2012). "When we sold off Wellington's power". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  4. ^ "The dealing's done for Kenny the Busker". Stuff. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  5. ^ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King bonus commentary
  6. ^ "Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee honours list 2002". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 2002. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Blumsky quitting 'tribal' politics". The Dominion Post. 25 September 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  8. ^ Boyer, Seamus (17 September 2010). "Blumsky new high commissioner to Niue". Dominion Post. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Former Niue police chief appointed High Commissioner of NZ". Dateline Pacific. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  10. ^ Chapman, Katie (9 September 2011). "Mark Blumsky finds love in a cafe in Niue". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  11. ^ Migone, Paloma (28 July 2012). "Blumsky begins new life in Niue". Dominion Post. p. 21.
  12. ^ "Former diplomat to represent Niue at Commonwealth Games". 26 January 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Lawn bowls official results" (PDF). Gold Coast 2018. Commonwealth Games Federation. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by
Fran Wilde
Mayor of Wellington
Succeeded by
Kerry Prendergast