Auckland Mayoress Shan Inglis yesterday accompanied her husband Len Brown to the Howick Military Tattoo - an event from which the mayor had been told to stay away for fear he would attract protesters.
The couple spent about an hour strolling around Lloyd Elsmore Park, talking to Celts, Norsemen, military groups, members of the public and listening to a brass brand well away from the formal stage.
It was one of the first times the pair had been seen together at a large public event since the mayor's affair with council adviser Bevan Chuang was revealed last October.
Ms Inglis said she enjoyed attending the free event, but had no comment on tattoo president and Howick ward councillor Sharon Stewart saying Mr Brown should stay away from the event.
"We have really enjoyed being here. It is lovely. It looks like the weather is going to be great," said Ms Inglis when asked about Mrs Stewart's comments.
She looked comfortable and relaxed with her husband, but did not accompany him to his next engagement, Japan Day celebrations at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane.
Mr Brown also refused to comment about the message from Mrs Stewart, who invited fellow councillor and Olympian Sir John Walker to open the tattoo.
Mrs Stewart - one of five councillors who voted last December for Mr Brown to resign - said she did not want to see the day disrupted by protesters and the shine taken off the event.
Sir John supported the mayor's attendance.
Visitors to the tattoo had mixed views on whether Mr Brown should attend or stay away.
There were no protesters at the tattoo, and only one protest banner was seen at the Japan Day event.
On Saturday, about 300 people marched up Queen St calling for Mr Brown to resign.
At yesterday's Japan Day celebrations, Mr Brown apologised to the Japanese community for the demolition of a Japanese garden at Auckland Zoo.
Mr Brown - who late last year fobbed off a group trying to save the gift made by sister city Fukuoka 25 years ago - said he should have been at the front end of the arrangement to remove the garden.
"It's about protocols and sensitivities and showing appropriate respect," said Mr Brown.
He promised to find a new location and have the lost Japanese garden rebuilt.
His pledge was welcomed by Stephanie Hay, head gardener at the zoo in 1989, who said it was time to rebuild the garden and rebuild the city's relationship with the Japanese community.
Your views: Should Mayor Brown have attended?
He should stay away. It's better for him and it's better for everybody else.
- Elizabeth Carroll, life member Howick RSA
What happened, happened. Everyone makes mistakes. He should be here, he's an awesome mayor. - Catherine Nairn, Pakuranga
If there is any controversy, I think he should stay away.
- Ashley Chang, Howick
Personally I think he should come along but I feel sorry for him if he does.
- Al O'Henry, Howick
It's all political. He should be here. He was just unlucky to get caught.
- Angus Jones, Howick
I think he should stay away. It's a family day. It's not a day for controversy.
- John Shera, Pakuranga
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