The past three weeks have been tough for Rawiri Bhana.

But last night, after a heartfelt post to Facebook announcing his decision not to put his name forward for local body elections, he slept like a baby.

"Most people who know me, know I had planned to stand for Rotorua Lakes Council this year," Bhana said.

"I love Rotorua, I love what it stands for and I truly believe I could have made a difference.


"But now is not the right time."

Three weeks ago Bhana lost his "baby brother" Erenuku.

"His passing has left my amazing 14-year-old nephew Wharekiri without parents," Bhana said.

A long time ago Bhana made the decision to live a life driven by "mokopuna decisions".

"To me mokopuna decisions means doing what's best in my lifetime for the betterment of not only my mokopuna, but everyone's mokopuna."

It was because of this, Bhana decided not to stand for council.

"Erenuku's death meant I needed to take stock and make sure I was living by mokopuna decisions not just talking about them. Council elections will come and go but my nephew has just turned 14 and the next three years, for him, are extremely important ones.

"First year of college, teenage boy stuff, I need to be a role model for him, give him structure, give him unconditional love, give him support, give him the knowledge that he is never alone and will always be loved.


"I'm doing it as a way to honour brother and my parents, all who I love dearly."

Bhana said, all going well, he would stand in the 2022 elections.

"So thank you to everyone who encouraged me to put my name in the hat. Thank you for believing in me and having faith that I could make a difference."

Having been heavily involved in the recent Harcourts Dancing for Hospice event, Bhana said the culmination of five weeks of work on Saturday night also allowed him to be able to grieve for his brother.

"I tried to stay focused and hold it together but, in doing that, wasn't really able to grieve.

"On Thursday night, in the wake of Dancing for Hospice and on the back of my Facebook post, I had the best sleep I've had in a long time."