The first official mayoral reception hosted by Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis featured a get-together of all five district mayors, a unique event on the eve of 30 years since our inception.

"It's very special to have all our former mayors here," Mrs Collis said.

The reception, to welcome Czech Consul-General Hana Flanderova from Sydney to Tararua, was a chance for Mrs Collis to share her passion for Tararua with Lindauer artist-in-residence from the Czech Republic Jana Hylmarova and her parents, as well as iwi representatives and two officers from the Ist Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment from Linton, who have a Charter of Freedom with Tararua.

After gifts of pounamu, supplied by Cherry Peeti-Topurau, owner of tiki 2 gallery, and presentations of the Phil Lamason biography, I Would Not Step Back . . . Mrs Collis hosted her cocktail party before guests were treated to a visually stunning tour of the Tararua by video.

Czech Consul-General Hana said while visiting New Zealand over the past 10 years she'd seen the Czech Republic ex-pat population growing.


"I've been in Sydney for two years and I like getting deeper and deeper into New Zealand culture," she said.

"I even have a small Maori tattoo and coming from Pilsen I have a personal connection with Gottfried Lindauer."

Hana said she was promoting closer ties between New Zealand and the Czech Republic.

"We are suggesting reopening our office in Wellington after it closed temporarily some time ago."