SAME BUT DIFFERENT: Kawerau District Council members from left Berice Julian, Faylene Tunui, Sela Kingi, Carolyn Ion, Aaron Rangihika, Warwick Godfery, David Sparks, Rex Savage and Malcolm Campbell. Photo Charlotte Jones D9151-01

THE first meeting of Kawerau District Council was full of laughter as elected members celebrated with whanau and friends.

Kawerau’s councillors and mayor were sworn in, in a cheerful ceremony, before participating in their first council meeting.

The council remains mostly unchanged with Malcolm Campbell returning as mayor and Faylene Tunui resuming her position as deputy mayor.

The only new face on council is Aaron Rangihika who was elected onto the council after former councillor Chris Marjoribanks chose not to run for re-election.

Mr Campbell said it was a “humbling” experience to be voted in for a seventh term, making him one of the longest serving mayors in New Zealand.

He thanks the public for having the “faith and trust” in the elected members to re-elect nearly the same council for another three years.

LONG SERVICE: Kawerau Mayor Malcolm Campbell makes a speech ahead of his seventh term while wearing his chain of office and the korowai gifted to Kawerau District Council by Nanny Mere Walker. D9151-02

“I also want to acknowledge the brave people that put their names forward for council,” said Mr Campbell.

“It can be exciting, cruel and rewarding and they have showed bravery and their commitment to the community.”

Councillor Sela Kingi generated a lot of laughs when she accidentally promised in her oath to serve the community impatiently rather than impartially and councillor Rex Savage also kept the mood light when he said the district couldn’t go wrong as it had elected a butcher, mechanic, checkout chick, lawyer, scuba diver and three teachers to represent it.

At their first meeting, councillors resolved to allow councillors to attend council meetings via Audio Visual Link and for the committee chair to be permitted a casting vote.

They also resolved to set up a disability committee and requested staff bring a report on the potential committee to the next council meeting.

Councillor Carolyn Ion was appointed chairwoman of the regulatory and services committee along with the community awards committee and hearings committee.

Councillor Berice Julian was appointed chairwoman of the community grants committee and deputy chairwoman of the regulatory and services committee.

Appointments to committees will be reviewed after 12 months and the date of the next council meeting is yet to be advertised.