One on one: Sophie Barker

Sophie Barker. Photo: supplied
Sophie Barker. Photo: supplied
The lockdown is a chance for those nearest to Otago’s well-known personalities to finally ask the questions they had always wanted to. With that in mind,  Charlotte Barker interviewed her mother, Sophie Barker, from their Andersons Bay bubble.

What is the most inspiring book you’ve read?

I read at least one book a week and often have three at a time on the go! The most inspiring book I love is The book of New Zealand Women - Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa, which has over 300 short biographical essays on all sorts of women from all periods of New Zealand’s history. It shows you that no matter how modest your life, it matters and can inspire others. That’s the book permanently by my bedside.

What TV character would you compare yourself to and why?

I desperately want to be Miss Phryne Fisher from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries - clever, witty, stylish, independent and can fly a plane! Really, I’m probably more like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple - down to earth, fond of a cup of tea and good at eliciting information.

What is something you really regret not doing when you had the chance?

Riding a Harley Davidson with one of the Tamaki brothers in Rotorua. I had a short skirt on, so didn’t. You should never let your "dignity" get in the way of an adventure!

What was your dream job as a child?

Accountant or a librarian. Numbers and books are among my favourite things and I like order. That’s quite boring, I know, but when you grow up in a castle, as I did, you long for "normality". However, someone had to do operations management and marketing of our family business, so I've ended up in a multiplex of roles.

If you had to have a superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation. It would really help my busy schedule. Oh and mind control so I don’t have to nag you to do your chores...


Sophie Barker is a Dunedin city councillor and the Otago Peninsula Trust marketing manager. She spent decades working at Larnach Castle - her family home and business - where she led the marketing and operations in between making scones and dusting. Her daughter, Charlotte, is 16 and a pupil of Columba College.

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