Rex Graham has been re-elected as chairman of Hawke's Bay Regional Council unopposed, ushering in a new council led by familiar faces.

It was an auspicious occasion on Wednesday as the council swore in its first Māori councillors (Hinewai Ormsby and Charles Lambert), on the eve of the council's 30th anniversary in November.

For the first time a powhiri was held to welcome in the council for the triennium.

A haka was performed after both Ormsby and Lambert took their oath.

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There are six new councillors around the nine-person table.

Charla Hawaikirangi leads in the regional councillors during the powhiri. Photo / Warren Buckland
Charla Hawaikirangi leads in the regional councillors during the powhiri. Photo / Warren Buckland

Graham said he really appreciated being voted back into the position.

"I don't take this job lightly, it's a very serious job.

"It is especially gratifying to me that we have two elected, Māori representatives around this table.

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Rex Graham re-elected as Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman unopposed

He also spoke briefly about the election, describing it as "tough", acknowledging two of the three councillors who lost their seats during the election, as well as the three retiring councillors.

He described the two unseated councillors, most likely discussing Paul Bailey and Tom Belford, although he did not name them, as two of the hardest working councillors.

"They will be a great loss ... but that is the nature of democracy.

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"They've been replaced by a new group who I have got great hope for.

"I think we have some incredibly talented people around this table."

Hinewai Ormsby after taking her oath as a regional councillor. Photo / Warren Buckland
Hinewai Ormsby after taking her oath as a regional councillor. Photo / Warren Buckland

He said he was looking forward to working with the new council.

"Everybody here has their eye on the ball of having a strong economy that works in harmony with the environment."

Councillor Rick Barker was re-elected as deputy chairman unopposed.

He said the past two terms of Hawke's Bay have been consumed by significant issues, 2013-2016 by the Ruataniwha Dam scheme, and 2016-2019 by the sale of Napier Port.

"I'm looking forward to the next three years, where I sense we've got clear air, no big issues."