There were tears when new Tararua District Councillor Erana Peeti-Webber was named deputy mayor at yesterday's declaration ceremony.

Peeti-Webber was overwhelmed with emotion when Tararua mayor Tracey Collis made the announcement.

The local body election saw Peeti-Webber gain the highest number of votes with 1916 in the northern ward, 514 votes ahead of second highest poller Kerry Sutherland.

She admits becoming deputy mayor, while learning all that being a councillor entails, is jumping in at the deep end.

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She learned the previous day that she was to be given the role.

"It's all about learning and being guided through being a young leader."

At the start of the meeting Collis said the new council was in for challenging and exciting times as it deliberated over and decided what was best for Tararua District over the next
three years.

"Our representation role goes beyond simply being a voice around this table, it involves building relationships with individuals and groups to inform, consult and empower people, in order to facilitate effective community involvement."

She said councils provide the local public service and local infrastructure that communities need to survive and prosper.

"However, nothing is free. Local services need to be paid for and local government has a limited range of funding tools by which to meet the needs and expectations of not only today's communities but the communities of the future."

Collis said as the council heads into the next three years it wants to continue to provide quality services that meet the demands of the community.

"We recognise that rates need to be kept at a level the community can bear and this is challenging given our large geographical area, extensive roading network and six towns.

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"Even in maintaining existing services, the council is faced with increasing costs. Our aim is to provide quality services at the very best value for money."

Collis said it was encouraging to see Tararua's population grow again in the 2018 Census.

"We are confident this trend will continue with opportunities that the new Manawatū-Tararua Highway will bring and we are already experiencing high demand and growth in housing,"

Collis said there was no greater challenge facing rural mayors today than the impact of structural ageing.

"For many communities, youth will be more sought after, harder to find and more expensive to secure from now on.

"Economic development is the way forward in terms of attracting and retaining residents."