Last night, some of the Super City's new local boards held their inaugural meetings. Herald reporters went along to witness local government history in the making
Upper Harbour Local Board members managed to achieve at their meeting what the neighbouring Kaipatiki board failed the previous night - reach a consensus to share the chair.
It was unanimously agreed that Brian Neeson, former National MP and Assistant Speaker of Parliament, would lead the board for 18 months before handing over to Margaret Miles for the second half of the term.
In his maiden address, Mr Neeson said the promise made by politicians that rates would not rise because of cost savings in having one Super City was likely to be the first promise to be broken, but he hoped it would also be the last.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse told the meeting at the North Harbour Stadium that Mayor Len Brown promised to attend at least one local board meeting each month.
Other high-profile members on the Upper Harbour board include Families Commissioner and former Work and Income chief executive Christine Rankin and former Waitakere City councillor Warren Flaunty.
Other members on the board are Callum Blair and Lisa Whyte.
The board covers an area stretching from Whenuapai in the west to Albany and Pinehill in the east and containing the Paremoremo Scenic Reserve, the North Shore's largest bush reserve and a site of ecological significance.
The inaugural Puketapapa Local Board meeting got off to a rocky start in Three Kings.
The swearing-in of its six members and the election of Richard Barter as chairman went smoothly in front of a crowd of more than 50 people.
Peter Muys even sang a modified Fred Dagg song before he read his declaration. He said he was inspired after seeing the city's new councillors sing at their inaugural meeting on Monday.
The tension began when both Nigel Turnbull and Michael Wood were nominated for the role of deputy chairman.
Both gave impassioned speeches about their commitment to the local community, with Mr Woods saying it "has been targeted by liquor and pokie merchants ... and yes, the eviction of Monte Cecilia School continues to cause division."
Mr Turnbull won the vote 4-2 - a division among the members which was a trend for the rest of the evening.
After the meeting was formally closed, Mr Wood was allowed to bring up an "extraordinary meeting" about Monte Cecilia School which was meant to take place next week.
However, the board ruled - once again 4-2 - that discussion of the matter be held over until next month.
This decision was met with outrage from some of the audience, with one man yelling "corruption" and having a heated argument with another man, who yelled, "Democracy works! Get over it!"
Lawyer Shale Chambers was last night elected chairman of the Waitemata Local Board in the heart of Auckland City.
The board area covers suburbs of two former community boards - including Westmere, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Parnell - important business districts, the port and waterfront, and major recreational and cultural facilities.
Mr Chambers said the board shared Mayor Len Brown's vision, including the building the CBD rail loop and an international convention centre.
The board also would be vigilant and challenging of proposals for private profit or encroachment of open space, public parks and facilities.
"A clear public and community benefit must be demonstrated.
"We are committed to ownership of regional assets and facilities remaining in community ownership. No ifs and buts on this one."
In preservation of heritage and good urban design, the board intended to honour the "Grey Lynn legacy", under which jerry-built housing was banned in the 19th century.
"We are committed to keeping the majority of heritage buildings ... within Waitemata," Mr Chambers said.
"We don't want to see a Soho hole ever again," he said in a reference to the stalled building project off Ponsonby Rd.
The deputy chairwoman is lawyer Pippa Coom, who is project manager for Cycle Action Auckland.
She arrived at the meeting on her vintage black bicycle.
The board wants increased provision of walkways and cycleways on the waterfront and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Calls for two communities to speak as one rang out before a packed house at the inaugural meeting of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board.
Its newly elected chairman, John McCraken, used his maiden speech to urge board members to put aside any division between the two areas.
"We are going to unite and speak as one on all major issues," he said.
"We will continue to look at liquor licensing, street prostitution and reduction of gaming machines in our area."
Mr McCraken promised to advocate for projects such as the long-awaited environmental improvements to the once-popular swimming and watersport destination Otara Lake.
That began with a plea to Mayor Len Brown.
"Mayor Len, we want to see that put on the list with your 100 things," he said.
"Expectation is high. Tonight we are making history. But one thing is certain: if we don't deliver we will be history."
Respected Otara figure Poutoa Papali'i received a warm welcome to the new board. His many supporters clapped as he paid tribute to his late father, apologising to him for disregarding his advice him and getting into politics.
Mary Gush was appointed deputy chairwoman of the board.
The meeting was closed with a waiata of the hymn Whakaaria Mai (How Great Thou Art).
The other members of the board are Tunumafono Ava Fa'amoe, Stephen Grey, Donna Lee and Ian McGechie.
Kumeu businessman Bob Howard was elected chairman of a new concept in local government for rural Rodney - a local board.
Under the old district council setup, it did not have community boards like other local authorities in Auckland. Instead, communities relied on 12 councillors drawn from wards to feed local views in to council debates.
Rodney is now a ward of the new Auckland Council, with a population of 54,120 since urban Orewa was bundled off to the Hibiscus Coast and East Coast Bays Local Board.
Mr Howard, a Kumeu resident for 24 years and sales manager of a real estate firm, is among nine members of the Rodney Local Board who were elected from four subdivisions.
He represents Kumeu subdivision with Warren Flaunty, Thomas Grace and Brenda Steele.
Dairy Flat subdivision has John McLean, Warkworth has Steven Garner, Tracey Martin and June Turner, and Wellsford has James Rolfe.
Mr Howard, who aims to preserve northwest Rodney's country lifestyle, had an early opportunity to push his case at a high level because last night's inaugural meeting in the Coatesville Settler's Hall was chaired by Auckland Council chief planning officer Dr Roger Blakeley.
Mr Howard said Auckland Council's new spatial plan should consider families' desire for space and privacy of the countryside around them.
Smaller lifestyle blocks could create a barrier between rural lots while allowing the council to increase its rating base without expensive services.
The number of Rodney residents grew by 1.8 per cent last year.