For Tararua District councillor Shirley Hull, hearing Mayor Roly Ellis announce he was stepping down at the end of this term, came as a shock.

"I have been planning to stand for the mayoralty in October and I'd informed Roly last week out of respect for his position. He was the first outside my family to know, but I wasn't expecting his announcement in council on Wednesday," Mrs Hull told the Dannevirke News.

The first to leave her seat in the council chamber on Wednesday to give an emotional Mr Ellis a hug, Mrs Hull said she's looking forward to the challenge of the campaign.

"With eight years on the Pahiatua Community Board and six years of district council under my belt, the time is right for me to step up," she said.

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Mrs Hull, who lives in Pahiatua, said she brings a wealth of experience with her responsibility for the finance portfolio for the past two terms.

"Last year I trained as an independent resource management commissioner, too," she said. "I have a good relationship with the community, and want to keep communication channels open. However, I realise campaigning doesn't start for three months, so I will be fully involved with normal governance of the district until then."