Keep grudges out of your heart, paintbrushes out of your hands and blockages out of your ears is the advice of a popular long-standing former mayor for the newbies elected around the country yesterday.

Meng Foon was mayor of Gisborne from 2001 until this year, when he was appointed Race Relations Commissioner.

He remembered his first days in the role fondly, and said a good start for any successful candidate was to begin by thanking supporters.

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Aucklanders slow out of the blocks to