There's a fresh look for Rangitikei District Council and Palmerston North City Council.

Both councils have been rejuvenated with a number of councillors standing down at the election, making way for new faces and a few firsts.

"This is, to my knowledge, the first time that we have ever had two councillors signed in in te reo," Rangitīkei mayor Andy Watson announced at the Rangitīkei District Council inauguration.

Rangitīkei District Council has six new councillors. Among them is Tracey Hiroa who brings experience to the table, having sat on a number of iwi advisory committees.


"I've sat on the Assets and Infrastructure Committee as a delegate from the Te Roopu Ahi Kaa group, and I've also sat on the Policy and Planning Committee as the Te Roopu Ahi Kaa delegate."

Another first time Rangitīkei councillor is Waru Panapa from Ratana.

"I was so proud to be led on by the [Ratana] band, and I think it set a tone for how we are going to be moving forward," Panapa said.

"In the past, Ratana has always been quite instrumental in many political areas in this country, and the Pa is now moving into a new phase of development with the new community board and myself as a councillor.

"I'm carrying the legacy of Soraya Peke-Mason who was the councillor before me so I hope I can do her proud."

Down the road in Palmerston North, four new councillors are bringing diversity to the table.

Renee Dingwall is the first Samoan to be elected to Palmerston North City Council.

"It's officially my first day, so I've been on for I think one hour," she said after the inauguration ceremony.


"I'm the first Pasifika woman to be on this council so that's a huge moment for us."

Zulfiqar Butt came to Palmerston North from Pakistan almost two decades ago as a scholarship student at Massey University.

"I did my PhD in Natural Resource Management and started working for Massey University," Butt said. "And have been working for the international relations team for more than 10 years."

"The diversity is really, really good," said Billy Meehan who is yet another newly elected councillor. "It's a good across-the-board council and I think will get some interesting debate and cover some good ground."

New councillor Pat Handcock was the police area commander for Palmerston North and has done a lot of work supporting marginalised communities.

"I understand about housing and reducing marginalisation," he said. "And empowering communities to feel more valued, that they actually contribute a great deal to Palmerston North."

While Handcock says Palmerston North is a very inclusive city he said "even when we think we are very inclusive we still have a long way to travel, we can always do better."

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