Hastings Girls' High School principal Geraldine Travers is standing for Hastings District Council.
In her 19th year at the school, she said she sees the effect of local and central government decisions on families and has "a huge social conscience and sense of responsibility".
"I have a commitment to Hastings being a really good place to live," she said.
Councillors Simon Nixon and Wayne Bradshaw are running for council but not repeating their runs for mayoralty, giving councillor Adrienne Pierce more voter focus as she takes on incumbent frontrunner Lawrence Yule. Hastings lawyer Guy Wellwood is also in the race.
Five-term councillor Mick Lester is not running for council, saying it was time for new blood.
He is chairman of the New Zealand Community Boards Executive Committee and the lawyer-turned-farmer will continue his commitment to the Hastings Rural Community Board.
He made his decision to not run after Heretaunga Ward councillor George Lyons said he would instead contest Mr Lester's Kahuranaki Ward.
That improves the chances of sitting councillor Rod Heaps, with the remaining ward seat between Jason Whaitiri, Clive School trustee and brother of Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri, and Haumoana Save the Cape Coast campaigner Ann Redstone.
Mohaka Ward councillor Tania Kerr has already won her seat, with no one standing against her again.
Councillors Henare O'Keefe and Jacoby Poulain are frontrunners for the Flaxmere Ward's two slots, their only opposition being Lynlee Aitcheson-Johnson, who is again running for the Hawke's Bay District Health Board, as is Ms Poulain.
Hastings-Havelock North Ward councillor John Roil is not running, citing disappointment in district council land policies and missed economic opportunities.
"If I haven't been able to make a difference then somebody else can take my place - there are some very good candidates," he said.
Last year he won an Environment Court case against his own council after being denied resource consent to develop 4ha of his land adjoining the Irongate industrial area south of Hastings.
Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers is instead running for Hawke's Bay Regional Council to further her environmental goals.
The departures leave seven incumbents for the ward's eight positions and 13 suitors. Some, like principal Travers, already have strong community profiles.
Environment advocate Chris Perley is a former land management adviser at the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and former candidate for both the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Tukituki electorate representing the Green Party.
Bayden Barber is Waimarama marae chairman and David Mackintosh is a director of Kiwi Wool, which was situated opposite the Stortford Lodge saleyards.
Damon Harvey, husband of Tukituki Labour candidate Anna Lorck, is chairman of Sport Hawke's Bay and co-owns a marketing company.
Ms Lorck said she was loading her horse float full of hoardings today.
"I love a good campaign," she said.