Hamilton's mayor and councillors have kicked off their three-year term on the same page about what they'll bring to the council table.

At a ceremony on Thursday, Mayor Paula Southgate and her fellow Hamilton City Council elected members were officially sworn in to begin their three year term.

Ms Southgate defeated former mayor Andrew King by more than 3000 votes, three years after missing out on the mayoralty by six votes.

Speaking to guests, Ms Southgate said it will be a privilege to serve the city as mayor.


"Being Mayor of Hamilton, a city that is truly on its way to being a great city, is a privilege and an honour," said Ms Southgate.

"I will be dedicated to leading a team of councillors who have great passion and purpose, whose role is to meet and exceed the needs and aspirations of our communities."

"We are public servants and it is our job to serve. We will need to make some hard decisions, we will need to be bold.

"There will be times when those decisions may be unpopular and, frankly, that's life as a politician. Tough calls do need to be made."

The ceremony saw three new councillors inaugurated, Kesh Naidoo-Rauf, Maxine van Oosten and Sarah Thomson, who join successful incumbents Mark Bunting, Martin Gallagher, Ryan Hamilton, Dave Macpherson, Angela O'Leary, Rob Pascoe, and the new Deputy Mayor, Geoff Taylor.

Margaret Forsyth and Ewan Wilson have been re-elected after previously being on the council prior to the last triennium.

Each councillor gave a speech thanking loved ones, while Mr Bunting told the new councillors that he would stand alongside, or in front of them when things got tough.

Mr Wilson made special mention to west ward candidate Louise Hutt, who he narrowly beat by 80 votes, saying that she had a very strong campaign, and looked forward to seeing more of her over the next three years.


All of the returning councillors also made special mention of Andrew King, saying he will be remembered for one of the most practical terms a mayor has had in Hamilton.

The ceremony also saw the formal unveiling of three new or restored city treasures.

The robes worn by Mrs Southgate were made for Hamilton's first woman mayor, Margaret Evans, now altered to include a korowai (cloak) gifted to the city by Waikato Tainui.

The original robes were identical to sets made for the late Māori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu and former Governor-General Dame Catherine Tizard.

"It is a privilege to wear these robes and they feel very special," said Mrs Southgate. "It is fitting to do so when we see the number of women around the council table grow from three to six."

The mayoral chains have had new shields added, with Mrs Southgate the first name engraved following the extensions.

Mayor Southgate was also presented with a ceremonial kō (digging stick). Carved by Inia Te Wiata Jnr on behalf of the hapu of Kirikiriroa and gifted to the council, the ko is named Kōkō I ara, meaning to clear the pathway.

In December 2018, then mayor Andrew King asked for council to look into buying a city kō , but confusion reigned when nearly all of the elected members were baffled by what a kō was.

It will be used at sod turning events to signal the permission, protection and blessing of new development in Hamilton.

Councillor Angela O'Leary was absent from the ceremony due to illness and will be sworn in at the first council meeting on November 28.