For months mayoral candidates have campaigned hard. They've been door-knocking, hand-shaking and attending endless debates.

But, now the work really starts - it's time for our new leaders to enrol in How To Be A Mayor 101 and head back to school.

At least 19 councils will have a different mayor as the incumbent steps down, and to help the rookies get accustomed to their new gig Local Government New Zealand runs an Elected Members Induction programme. It aims to help newly-elected representatives "navigate their way through the local government maze" and includes handbooks, workshops and online seminars.

Local Government New Zealand deputy chief executive Helen Mexted said: "It's designed to bring those with no experience up to speed with what it means to be an elected member.


"We'll be having a range of topics, including the basics of chairing and running meetings. It's their chance to hear about what the job involves from a practical perspective."

A man who knows a thing or two about being mayor is Sir Barry Curtis, who led Manukau City for 24 years. In 1992 he was knighted for services to local government and the community.

He told the Herald on Sunday taking the reins of a city was a "big challenge".

"First and foremost you need to sit down with the council at that first meeting and making sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. You have to dedicate yourself completely to the task 24/7, and be able to relate to the community at large."

Sir Barry said it was also important to forge strong relationships with all groups in the community, including the private sector.

He couldn't resist passing on one piece of advice to the winner of the battle for the top job in the Super City.

"For heaven's sake, don't go selling off our major strategic assets."

Sir Barry's Top Tips


Get elected


Dedicate yourself completely to the task, 24 hours a day, seven days a week


Have an open door


Relate to the entire community at large


Embrace the private sector