Kaipara councillors farewelled mayor Greg Gent and spoke highly yesterday of his leadership and contribution during his short stint as mayor.

But the mayor himself, maintaining his previous stance, said little as to the reason he is departing.

The only hint came from Councillor Anna Curnow who described him as a "man of action" who liked to get things done.

Read more: Kaipara mayor announces his surprise resignation
Greg Gent remains quiet on why he's resigned as mayor of Kaipara

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"He's a strong and competent leader and it's sad he's leaving. His announcement that he's resigning came as a total shock. He also has a huge portfolio of work outside the council," she said.

Mr Gent gave nothing away yesterday as to whether that "huge portfolio" was a factor, but his farewell speech in the Northern Wairoa War Memorial Hall after the meeting revealed his respect for elected representatives, and the district.

"Leaving after a year wasn't my preference but it's where, for a number of reasons, I found myself and it was the right thing to do. Those reasons stay with me because the health and brand of Kaipara comes way ahead of anything else.

"You are there for the organisation, not for yourself and that's why I've left," he said.

Mr Gent said he admired those working in local government because it was not an easy gig.

"Having come from the corporate world you can see the difference. Everything is open to scrutiny. Even having a governance meeting."

On chairing his last council meeting, he said: "I treat it like any other day. I am only one part of the decision making process. The decision to resign was made a while ago so I am feeling pretty neutral in that regard."

At the meeting, councillors approved deputy mayor Peter Wethey representing the council in civil functions and meetings until a byelection in February to elect a new mayor.

They also approved Mr Gent's appointment as a ratepayer representative on the Raupo Drainage Committee.

Councillor Julie Geange said Mr Gent had contributed greatly to moving the district forward and it was sad he was leaving.

"Greg has made his mark on the council and I think his biggest strength is his experience and leadership."

Mr Gent was to hand over his resignation letter to acting chief executive Peter Tynan today.

He will continue to focus on company roles, farming and family.

The Ruawai farmer is the chairman of Southern Cross Healthcare Group and Dairy Holdings, and deputy chairman of Plant and Food Research.