Whakatāne district mayor Tony Bonne has announced his retirement from local government.
Bonne, who will step down at the conclusion of the current triennium, made the announcement to a packed audience attending the council's annual Over-80's Christmas morning tea today.
Bonne said after serving the community for 18 years - 12 of those as mayor - it was time for new blood to come through.
"It will give me more time to devote to Linda and my family, and provide an opportunity to take on a new challenge.
"I have enjoyed every minute representing our district and have enjoyed working with a group of talented and committed councillors, and the entire community, to make our district what it is today."
Bonne said as a council they had achieved a great deal including the construction of the Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre and Museum and Research Centre, developing stronger and deeper iwi relationships and partnerships, securing Air Chathams as a key air transport link after the departure of Air New Zealand, and leading the district through the recovery from the disastrous 2017 floods
"I can assure you all that I will keep my foot firmly on the accelerator right through until the end of my mayoralty, and there are a number of projects I would like to cement in before I go.
"These include having a firm direction in the Three Waters space, a commercial arm to invest and protect the community's assets for future generations, and firming up the reality of a lifestyle retirement village.
"Local government is an exciting place and I thank the community for the honour it has bestowed on me - because it has been a privilege to represent you all."
Bonne confirmed that he will enter the local real estate industry, following the conclusion of his term in office in October 2019.