Richard Crawford had not planned on standing for the Te Puke Community Board but yesterday, he was sworn in as the new board's chairman.

Although, he nearly did not make it there.

The volunteer firefighter had been tied up with calls to a serious car crash and scrub fires but with aid from his Tauranga peers, Crawford was able to attend Western Bay of Plenty District Council's swearing-in ceremony at 1pm.

Crawford, who help set up The Daily cafe, was appointed and sworn in as chairman of the Te Puke Community Board and will serve alongside deputy chairman Tupaea Rolleston, Dale Snell and Kassie Ellis. The foursome replaces the entire former board and are joined in representing the area by newly elected councillors Monique Lints and Grant Dally.

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Crawford said he had been supporting the board contenders last year when they originally met at The Daily cafe to discuss running.

New Western Bay of Plenty councillor Monique Lints who represents the Te Puke ward. Photo / Andrew Warner
New Western Bay of Plenty councillor Monique Lints who represents the Te Puke ward. Photo / Andrew Warner

"This was months and months before the elections. Everyone was asking if I was going to stand. I said 'no, I'm here to support these guys'. I'm already so involved in the community, I didn't want to get involved at this level.

"Then a couple of people in the community said 'you have to stand'. They filled the form out two days before deadline, so I did it. And both Monique and myself were the highest polling [in Te Puke].

"It was a real vote of confidence but the really exciting thing is the other people from that group are here too."

Rolleston is chief executive of Tarnix Security and, like Crawford, a volunteer of Te Puke's fire brigade. Ellis has been involved in several community groups including Te Puke Creative Forum and the Te Puke Memorial Hall Committee and likewise, Snell has been heavily involved in community matters and is a trustee of the Te Puke Centre Charitable Trust.

"We will be a team, not a group," Crawford said.

Western Bay of Plenty councillor Grant Dally, who also represents the Te Puke ward. Photo / Andrew Warner
Western Bay of Plenty councillor Grant Dally, who also represents the Te Puke ward. Photo / Andrew Warner

Snell said it was an exciting time.

"We are an amazing team. We all get on really well, we are looking forward to progress," she said.

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"We've already had many discussions between us. It appears we are on a progressive pathway. Every one of us is on another committee or board in Te Puke."

Ellis agreed as Snell spoke, and said: "We are all excited to move forward."