First female mayor and Māori ward councillor sworn in
Waipā’s first female mayor is expecting to face economic challenges and ‘‘once-in-a-lifetime legislative reform’’ in her term.
Susan O’Regan and the recently elected Waipā councillors were sworn in at an emotional ceremony at the Mighty River Domain, Lake Karāpiro last Monday.
Among those taking their declarations were Waipā’s first Māori ward councillor, Takena Stirling, and the only other new face at the council table, firstterm Maungatautari ward councillor Mike Montgomerie.
The event opened with a powerful whakatau (welcome) from hosts Ngāti Korokı¯ Kahukura and Ngāti Hauā.
O’Regan and nine councillors then took their oaths of office supported by a large group of whānau, friends and supporters.
It was the first time the official ceremony had been held in the Te Manawa o Matariki room, next to the Sir Don Rowlands event centre.
The location honoured Stirling’s election as Māori ward councillor and was big enough to accommodate the 70-plus guests who attended, a council statement said.
O’Regan said she was ‘‘humbled and honoured’’ to be
‘‘We are today embarking on a triennium which will likely be characterised by economic challenges and once-in-a-lifetime legislative reform. ’’
the first woman sworn into the mayoral office, but wished that her parents were there to see it.
She acknowledged mana whenua and past leaders of the district, saying their joint commitment and vision meant that everyone in Waipā could enjoy a rich district with potential and opportunity.
‘‘We are today embarking on a triennium which will likely be characterised by economic challenges and once-in-a-lifetime legislative reform,’’ O’Regan said. ‘‘Our ability to navigate through these years with integrity, wisdom and unity will be
underpinned by our strength of common purpose.’’
The whakatau was followed by an opening karakia (prayer) before chief executive Garry Dyet opened the meeting, welcoming the council to a threeyear term he said would be challenging, ‘‘given the rapid pace of fundamental change’’.
Four-term councillor Liz Stolwyk was confirmed as deputy mayor and councillors were appointed as representatives on community boards.
Philip Coles and Mike Montgomerie are council representatives on the Cambridge Community Board, while Lou Brown and Bruce Thomas were appointed to the Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board.
Dyet also welcomed community board members who were being sworn in, saying the council was committed to working more closely with them this triennium.
Ange Holt was elected Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board chairperson, and Jo Davies-Colley was elected chairperson in Cambridge.
The first formal community board meetings will be held in December and the first ordinary council meeting will be held on November 15 in the council chamber at Te Awamutu.