There is no higher concentration of female mayors than on the East Coast of the North Island.

New Zealand has 13 female mayors, with five in Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa.

The newest is Sandra Hazlehurst, recently elected mayor of Hastings District in a by-election.

To the south is Central Hawke's Bay mayor Alex Walker, Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis, Masterton District mayor Lyn Patterson and mayor of South Wairarapa District Council is Viv Napier.


One of the first female mayors on the East Coast was Barbara Arnott, Napier City mayor from 2001 to 2013.

She said she encountered prejudice when she ran for office and again when she chose a female deputy mayor for her 12-year reign.

"There are just a few pockets of die-hards who think women can't do the job," she said.

"But they are by nature more conciliatory – more facilitative. They don't see themselves in a boxing ring where it is right or wrong and you knock the opponent out.

"They really try to get people together and I do think they make good mayors because of that."

While male mayors might take their gloves off to get their own way she "put on a skirt", she said.

The chance of a clean sweep presents itself with nominations opening in July 2019 for the next round of local-body elections.

East Coast councils dragging the chain with patriarchal mayoralty are Carterton District, Napier City, Wairoa District and Gisborne District.


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