A Muslim leader who rose to prominence in Hawke's Bay after the Christchurch massacre has decided to stand for Hastings District Council.

Hawke's Bay Baitul Mokarram Masjid and Islamic Centre Trust board of trustees member and president, Sayeed Ahmed said now is the time to fulfil his lifelong dream.

Ahmed came to New Zealand about 30 years ago from Bangladesh, when he was in his mid-30s.

To him, this is his home. "Living in New Zealand is better than Bangladesh. The people are good and kind." He moved to Hastings in 1990. His family arrived, "one by one" later.


He is married and has three adult children; two sons and one daughter.

At the time of the March 15 terrorist attack, which saw 51 people killed, Ahmed helped to console the Hawke's Bay community - both Muslim and non-Muslim - affected by the tragedy.

He opened the doors of the mosque to the wider community and led public prayer.

While Ahmed says his decision was not influenced by the shooting, having a representative from the Muslim community in council was a factor.

"This will be a help for them. They have no representative at this moment."

He has worked for the Muslim community in various roles since he moved to the country.

Now, he wanted to branch out and serve the whole community.

"Most of the people know me very well and they come to me and ask why not run in the local government."


He used to reply with "I am alright in the mosque".

It wasn't until he saw fellow Muslim, Rizwaana Latiff put her hat in the ring in the 2017 byelection, that he decided to pursue his dream and stand for the Hastings/Havelock North ward.

He is aware of the issue affecting the region, including water and housing, saying he sees it first-hand with the people who pass through the doors of his mosque.

While he is Muslim, Ahmed said he wants to work for all people regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.