The Rotorua community has voted for change, electing four new trustees to join the re-elected two to serve on the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust for the next three years.

In the preliminary election results, Jo-Anne La Grouw and Sandra Kai Fong were re-elected to the trust board, while Tamati Coffey, Beatrice Yates (Aunty Bea), Merepeka Raukawa-Tait and Stewart Edward were elected for the first time.

A total of 13,175 votes were cast in the trust election, 28.29 per cent of 46,574 eligible voters. A total of 1610 votes were received online, 12.22 per cent of the total vote.

Mr Coffey was the highest poller with 5125 votes.


"That was great. It was very overwhelming and humbling that so many people have faith in me. Now I need to take on the responsibility and make sure I live up to their expectations."

He said being on the trust was an important role.

"One person said to me that it was like getting to be Santa everyday. We get to dish out this money to well-deserving bodies so it's great."

Newly elected trustee Stewart Edward said he was "very humbled" when he heard the results.

"There was lots of people standing, it's a privilege to be able to represent our community."

He said from here it was a matter of finding out the policies and ideas of the other trustees.

"It's a matter of understanding what they already have in place and then seeing what more can be done."

Mr Edward said he thought the idea of a fixed term was something they should discuss.

Mrs La Grouw said she was surprised by the election result but pleased to have been re-elected.

"I was expecting at least one more existing trustee to make it on. This will be my fifth term and probably my last.

"I stood again because I love doing it, I love working with the community and finding out new things about the community."

She predicted the next three years would be business as usual and was looking forward to working with the new trustees.

Trust manager Tony Gill said the community owed a great deal of thanks to the outgoing trustees Paul East, Lyall Thurston and Trevor Maxwell who had contributed a combined 45 years to the trust and the local community.

"There is no corner of Rotorua that hasn't been supported by the trust in some way, and I look forward to working with the new trust board to continue ensuring that its funds are preserved, protected, and grown and directed to groups that have a positive impact on the community.

Former chairman Grahame Hall, who did not stand for re-election, said he too was surprised by the number of newcomers.

"I thought there would be at least two but four was a bit of a surprise. I was sorry to see Lyall and Trevor not continuing but thrilled with the re-election of Sandra and Jo-Anne.

"Though it was pleasing to see 28 per cent voted, it was still on the light side for such an important body.

This year's election also included a non-binding referendum question to gain the community's views on whether a maximum number of terms that a trustee may serve on the trust should be introduced.

Based on the preliminary results, 7184 people voted that there should be a maximum number of terms that trustees might serve while 2429 said they did not think there should be a maximum number of terms.

"At the moment, trustees are elected for a three-year term. At the end of each term, trustees must stand down, but are eligible for re-election. The trust deed currently places no limit on the number of times an individual may be re-elected as a trustee," Mr Gill said.

Former trustee Lyall Thurston said although he wasn't re-elected he was very pleased to see some new faces on the board.

He said his greatest achievement while on the board was persuading the trust to support the completion on the Rotorua Bath House.

"I'm very positive about the future of the trust, it's in good hands and new blood," he said.

The new trust will meet for the first time this week to agree on a timetable for future meetings, and to commence the process of the election of the next chairman.

The first official trust meeting will be held on December 8.

The election results remain provisional at this stage, pending the counting of special votes next week.

Beatrice Yates was overseas and unreachable when the Rotorua Daily Post tried to contact her yesterday.

Preliminary results:Peter Bentley: 2684 Vijo Madappilly Jose: 365Richard Bird: 950 Julia Manktelow: 1213Peter Buckton: 402 Trevor Maxwell: 2,893Stuart Burns: 2,152 Darren McGarvie: 852Julie Calnan: 1,526 Raina Meha-Rangitauira: 1,338Norm Carter: 514Brigitte Nelson: 592Tamati Coffey: 5,125 Jon Olphert: 1,509Tim Cossar: 1,323 Geoff Palmer: 364Chris Currie: 488 Brian Pickering: 534Paul East: 2,950 Elliot Pollard: 1,216Stewart Edward: 3,029 Merepeka Raukawa-Tait: 3,266Mike France: 1,429 Geoff Rice: 353Greg Gould: 1,092 Carolyn Santiago: 401Don Hammond: 870 Graeme Simpson: 500Trev Hawkins: 348 Robyn Skelton: 2,338Ian Hulton: 785 Victor Storey: 452Annette Joyce: 1,751 Charles William Sturt: 1,901Sandra Kai Fong: 3,345 Lyall Thurston: 2,939Mike Keefe: 1,941 Rob Vigor-Brown: 1,177Jo-Anne La Grouw: 3,688 Charlie Windell: 1,344Kim Lorigan: 1,393 Waitsu Wu: 1,234Philip Macalister: 877 Bea Yates: 3,673