Tauranga business development expert and ultra-distance hiker Max Mason is seriously considering entering the contest to lead the city in October's local government elections.

He has joined former mayoral candidate Hori Leaming in becoming a potential challenger for the job that will be vacated by Mayor Stuart Crosby when he seeks a seat on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

Efforts by the Bay of Plenty Times to contact Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy to ask whether she was interested in becoming mayor have been unsuccessful.

She was appointed Commissioner on April 1, 2013.


Mr Mason did not comment on speculation that he was under pressure from elements in the community to put his name forward for the mayoralty.

However, he said his thinking had shifted from two months ago when he said in response to the mayoral candidate question: "At this point my thinking is that I would like to be a councillor."

Mr Mason said he was still at the research stage of the decision-making process and was getting "all the ducks in a row". If the research showed he should go for the mayoralty then he would declare himself, if not he would stand for the council.

"I am moving closer to making a decision."

Mr Mason spent six years as a council trouble-shooter doing a variety of council jobs, including shifting control of the Tauranga Historic Village to the Compass Community Trust, setting up Tourism Bay of Plenty and the economic development agency Priority One.

After working for the Chamber of Commerce and managing the Bob Owens Retirement Village, he did something life-changing while wife Helen was in Boston studying the United States health system - he spent six months walking the 3500km Appalachian Trail in the US.

He is now on a six-month contract to re-energise Priority One's business attraction plans.

Mr Leaming said a faction of people had finally picked up on what he had been yelling from the rooftops for 15 years, including the need for a rugby stadium. "Tourism is nowhere near where it should be," he said.

Tauranga was still chugging away, and the question was whether he needed to stand for the council and mayoralty to whip things along and take the city forward.

He would not stand for the mayoralty if there was a serious candidate he was confident could get things cracking. "If not, then I would step up ... I would be the man for the job."