The election of Mayor John Carter for a third term and of nine Far North District councillors became official on Thursday with a swearing-in ceremony in the Kaikohe Memorial Hall, preceded by a pōwhiri and followed by the first council meeting of the new triennium.
Mr Carter also announced that Cr Ann Court, who is beginning her seventh term, would be his deputy Mayor, succeeding Tania McInnes, who contested the mayoralty but not her council seat. She said she was delighted with her new role, and was looking forward to "being a support person for the rest of the team so we can be formidable."
Cr Court was former Mayor Wayne Brown's deputy from 2010 to 2013.
Newcomer David Clendon, a former Green MP who lives in Kerikeri, said his role as a councillor would be "a bit different to Parliament," but he was looking forward to being able to "do something local."
"I'm looking forward to working with a really tight council. There have been problems in the past, but we're going to go beyond that and get on with the business, because there's a lot to be done," he said.
Fellow newcomer Moko Tepania, who at age 28 is Northland's youngest councillor, received the loudest cheers and whistles from supporters in the audience.
The Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kaikohe teacher said he was excited about what the council would achieve over the next three years.
"I'm looking forward to being able to represent Kaikohe-Hokianga and the Far North as a whole, and give back to the community," he said.
The other new councillors are Rachel Smith, a community board member in Kerikeri for the past three years, and Kaitaia businessman David Collard, who lost his seat after one term in 2016.
Meanwhile Cr Court said elected members and the senior leadership team would attend a two-day strategy meeting over the next two days, where "honest talks" would take place to lay the foundations for the next three years.
Mr Carter said he was looking forward to a productive year, and, at the inaugural meeting, asked councillors to approach him directly if there were any problems.
"I think the public selected a great team of people to work together," he said.
"But please, if you have an issue, put it on the table. We're here to deal with the issues and represent our community. It's not about us personally, it's about us collectively, working together."