Tribute was paid to the work of two Tararua District Councillors who were farewelled at Wednesday's final meeting of the council.
Deputy Mayor and Northern ward councillor Allan Benbow is not seeking re-election to council but is instead standing for Horizons Regional Council while Southern ward councillor Andy Thompson is taking up a position in Fiji.
Mayor Tracey Collis, in her final address to the current council, said Benbow was a valuable and respected member of the team.
"Thank you for the service you have given to council and to the Tararua District, you have had a tremendous term and have much to be proud of."
Collis thanked him for being part of the discussions over the new Manawatū-Tararua Highway.
"It has been a huge time commitment and a great result for us. You have led economic development and some exciting projects and some we would still like you to be involved with as a member of the community.
"While you leave us at council we know that your commitment to this district does not, and I know that you will be available to help with projects where your expertise will always be valued."
Collis said Andy Thompson had enjoyed a great term and had proven himself an outstanding governor.
"We have enjoyed your sharp questioning and humour. You have been a great asset to our Works Liaison Committee and I hope you are proud of the projects you have seen to completion.
"You have given outstanding service to the people you have represented, and we are grateful for having your expertise at the table."
Collis likened Tararua District to Hotel California – where you can check out – but you can never really leave completely.
"Allan will still be here and on hand and Andy leaves us for a significant role in Fiji – he may be temporarily checking out but it gives the people of the Tararua District somewhere to check in, in Fiji.
"I know you both will continue to serve the people of the Tararua District in some way in the future and wish you well for the future."
Collis acknowledged the staff who have collectively contributed to the successful projects throughout the district and carry out the day-to-day running of the district.
"Many times this goes unnoticed and I take this opportunity to thank you all for the work you do and the care you have for all our towns and our people. It is truly appreciated."
Collis told councillors she was proud of the term they had together and their achievements.
"We have been able to complete some major projects like Woodville water, Pahiatua water storage, retaining our pensioner housing and watch others commence like the Pahiatua water treatment and Pahiatua town upgrade."
She said these were all significant projects and ones the whole team council, staff and ratepayers could be proud of.
"There are others that we have been devastated over, such as losing the TEFAR funding for Route 52, but the opportunity to have this considered for PGF funding is a better long-term solution.
"The feasibility study for the rail hub will assist us in our case for this funding.
"We have worked with the community and achieved outstanding results with the Pongaroa Fuel Stop and Connect Tararua.
"Our community has stepped forward again to look at funding the Carnegie building.
"We have faced our challenges and maximised the opportunities – the pain of losing the Manawatū Gorge Road, to receiving funding for the Manawatū Tararua Highway, securing cycleway/walkway funding, collaboratively working together as a region and watching our district grow and being prepared for the growth that is coming."
Collis said Tararua was a great district, with great people and incredible communities.
"It has been a privilege for us all to serve them.
"I thank councillors sincerely for your hard work, commitment and dedication to the Tararua District. It has been great working with the team in what has been an incredibly busy term and I acknowledge the many hours work that have been put in by you all. I have enjoyed working with your all and I wish you all the very best in the upcoming elections."