Rotorua Lakes councillor Karen Hunt is not seeking re-election this year.
She told her colleagues at the council meeting this morning she had done her bit, and it was time for someone else to step up.
"The reasons are simply that in the last six years I've had mayor Steve at the helm... I've been able to do all of the things I wanted to do and that I campaigned on in 2007 [when she was first elected]."
She said this included pushing for community safety initiatives, shared cycle paths, art in public places, environmental issues such as kerbside recycling and lake water quality and the establishment of a plan for the Lakefront.
Hunt said the projects had taken courage and forward thinking.
"We move from paralysis of indecision, actually into decision making. This is a transformational council and I've been incredibly proud to be involved in it."
She hoped her decision would prompt others to consider standing and taking her seat.
"I'm looking forward to some new challenges ahead."
Mayor Steve Chadwick said decisions like Hunt's were never made lightly.
"I was quite shocked when I heard but I understand. You've got to look and say have I finished what I intended to do?"
She said the community had enjoyed Hunt's energy and passion.
Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson said he also came into the council in 2007.
"I want to acknowledge the contribution she [Karen Hunt] has made… It seems we've been prematurely pushed into election mode... but her job's not done, she's still a councillor until October 12, so carry on the good work."
He said he had "a huge admiration for her contributions".
Hunt is the creative communities portfolio leader, focused on supporting arts and culture in the district.
She also leads the district revitalisation portfolio, which focuses on making Rotorua attractive to visitors.
When Hunt was first sworn in 12 years ago, Kevin Winters was mayor and Trevor Maxwell was deputy.
In the 2016 election she made it back on to council by a 100-vote margin, knocking Mike McVicker from his seat.