Mayor Len dons kākahu at our Council’s first meeting 02 November 2022 It was a colourful occasion at our Council’s inaugural meeting today at Thames Civic Centre, as our newly elected members were sworn in, Mayor Len received his chains, and Councillor Terry Walker was appointed as Deputy Mayor. Bess Kingi (Mercury Bay Community Board) presented our Mayor with a kākahu (Māori cloak) she had made for the community to use, sharing a story that brought laughter to the room. “I happened to be making a kākahu for our community when Len came around for a visit one day. He said: ‘What are you doing?’ I said: ‘I’m making a kākahu.’ We started chatting, then I said: ‘Len, if you become Mayor you’re going to be the first one to wear this’. Then blow me down, he became Mayor and the rest is history.” Frank Thorne, our Council's Māori Engagement advisor opened the meeting with a karakia (prayer) and Mayor Len Salt took his oath and was presented with his chains by Acting Chief Executive/Corporate Services Manager, Donna Holland, standing in for Chief Executive Aileen Lawrie. In his welcome speech, Mayor Len spoke of some of the changes that lay ahead for our Council in the next triennium. “The Future For Local Government draft report which was released last Friday for public feedback, sets out a pathway forward, and we get to have a say in that pathway. Whether or not we embrace that future, is in our hands. "The choice is ours. So let’s choose wisely. Today is the beginning, and I for one, can’t wait to get started," said Mayor Len. MP for the Coromandel electorate, Scott Simpson, also addressed Elected Members, reminding them of the importance and honour of serving their local community that had placed its confidence in them. “Never ever miss the opportunity to engage with the people who have given you the privilege of serving on their behalf, because it is an honour. And it is a privilege." Recalling a speech given by former PM John Key, he added: "Make every day count. You’ve come here to represent people who have given your their confidence, don’t let them down.” Our Elected Members were officially sworn in and signed their oaths, and Declarations concluded with a waiata performance from our Council staff, called Purea Nei e Te Hau. Councillor Terry Walker Appointed Deputy Mayor L to R: Terry Walker, Donna Holland, Mayor Len Salt Our Council unanimously endorsed the appointment of Councillor Terry Walker as the Thames-Coromandel District Council’s Deputy Mayor for the 2022-25 triennium and approved the meeting schedule for the rest of 2022: After an explanation of the Statutory Requirements for Elected Members from our Council's Legal Counsel, Alison Hunt, the Standing Orders for the 2022-25 term of Council were endorsed and the meeting concluded. Read the agenda and watch the recording of our inaugural meeting on our website here or watch on YouTube here.