Western Bay of Plenty's newest councillor has already assigned himself homework duties ahead of formally being sworn in next week.
Athenree man Allan Sole is no stranger to council chambers, having already served six years as Waihi Beach Community Board chairman. The public promotion to elected councillor has been, for him, a natural progression of sorts.
And he's grateful.
The 69-year-old won Western Bay of Plenty District Council's byelection last week, filling the seat vacated by former councillor Christina Humphreys when she resigned in January.
While Sole received plenty of support from the circles he moves in, he appreciates others may have wanted to vote otherwise.
Sole received 693 votes, ranking him just ahead of candidates Rodney Joyce who received 643 and David Marshall with 595.
Sole is "delighted to get there" and he was quick to thank voters and the other contenders. With 10 candidates in the running "it was a lottery for all of us", he said.
"Especially because byelections are naturally poor turnouts and this one was no different.
"There were some worthy candidates in there. I worked fairly hard and I know others worked hard to get there too."
Sole said he was saddened by the voter turnout figures "because I believe in democracy".
"Perhaps people are just too busy."
By April 30, the last day of voting, the byelection received just 29.35 per cent of voting returns. In the 2019 triennial election, there was a voting return of 43.52 per cent.
Sole has already spent his first week as councillor-elect sitting in council meetings and studying reports at home to "catch up" on ongoing issues. The council is going through its Long-term Plan for the next 10 years but despite the efforts of getting himself updated, Sole says he will refrain from voting on LTP matters due to his late arrival in its process.
He will be formally sworn in as councillor on Wednesday.
Sole, who comes from a business background, has been heavily involved in community groups and organisations such as the Western Bay of Plenty Museum, Athenree Action Group, Western Bay Heritage Trust and local community patrols.
He says finding the balance between community desire and the greater good for the district will possibly his biggest challenge.
"As a councillor, while you work for the community, and for your ward, you are a councillor for the district. I could say while I want something to happen for us as a community, it doesn't necessarily fit with the benefit of the district. So I will be trying to find that balance."
Sole says "we are lucky to live in the Western Bay council area" but he is concerned about rates.
"I'm very aware of people on fixed incomes who have lived for years in their Waihi Beach homes, which are now worth millions, but they can barely see their week through from pension to pension.
"I will be arguing quite strongly as to how we look after these people or are they going to be forced to sell up and move on? These are the things that conflict me."
Sole says doing right by ratepayers will ultimately be his motivation in his duty as councillor. However, he's reluctant to stop progress at the expense of saving money.
"Everybody works hard to get that dollar. I need to make sure my time in chambers earns a quality return for that dollar. The time I spend in council is making it a better community; be it rates, be it facilities, be it accessibility to support the people. That's what I believe.
"I want to see us all working to have happy, safer communities."
It's a fine line to walk but Sole is looking forward to the challenge.
The first thing he plans to do after this interview is return to his homework of council reports.