Tony Bonne won't be seeking re-election as mayor of Whakatāne in the upcoming local body elections this October.

Instead he'll be moving into real estate, an industry he grew up with.

"My father was a real estate agent for many, many years," Bonne said. "I was going to do it. I did my papers 15 years ago and then instead of getting into real estate, I went back to local body politics. So I'm really finishing off another challenge before I officially retire."

Bonne has been mayor of Whakatāne off and on for 16 years, first arriving in the job in 1995. He's also had two terms as a councillor and told Local Focus what it was like being mayor at 37, followed by the pain of losing the mayoralty.


Climate change, flouridation, waste water and Māori engagement are all issues close to his heart.

But the biggest challenges were the floods in Edgecumbe and Matatā. Bonne says he has no regrets, but he has declared, somewhat hopefully, that there will be no more civil defence emergencies until after the next mayor is elected.

When asked who that next mayor should be, Bonne was reluctant to name names but did make a not-so-subtle hint.

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