An hour before Greg Brownless heard he had been elected mayor, he was balancing up whether to move the chicken coop or mow the lawns.

Then the news came through that would change his life forever. With fresh lawn clippings still on his trousers, Tauranga's new mayor said with characteristic candour that he thought the result would have been a lot closer.

"I have got a good mandate to go forward sensibly. I don't want to be a do-nothing person, but not a person that breaks the bank."

He had rated himself as at least a medal prospect, with a good chance of winning. But with a provisional margin of 1951 votes over runner-up Kelvin Clout, it ended up being a two-horse race for the mayoralty, with the other top pollers Doug Owens and Max Mason a long way back.

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Asked why he thought he won with such a healthy mandate, Mr Brownless put it down to being an all-rounder, not the best businessman and not the worst.

The former owner of Legacy Funerals who gifted the business to the community downplayed the part his philanthropy played in winning the mayoralty.

Mr Brownless thought it was more about him being well known around town and someone who talked to a lot of people. "Perhaps people feel a connection with me, and that was long before I decided to run for the Mayoralty."

He characterised himself as sensible and not extravagant. "I don't like extravagance, people see me as an everyday person."

His high profile was helped by his 15 years as a city councillor and as a performer for music shows and theatre. "I have even got to play my accordion...people like that, they identify with you."

Mr Brownless style was to talk issues through without confrontation. "I don't respond well to people that are confrontational. I believe there is always more than one point of view that could be right."

Having been out of council politics for six years, he said his immediate priority would be to catch up with the myriad things going on with the council at the moment. "But I am a fast reader. I will be looking at the things that need immediate attention.

One of his priorities would be to investigate alternative funding sources for the council, saying he intended to bend the ear of the Government and the regional council so that the cost of running the city did not fall on ratepayers all of the time.