Rotorua mayoral contender Dennis Curtis has four very personal reasons behind his decision to stand in this year's election.

They are Te Atawhai, Anthony-Rei, Meri Puti and Hone – he and his wife Tania's four children.

"My children and, my children by extension [my nieces and nephews], and further afield, the entire Rotorua community, are the reason I have finally put my hand up," Curtis said.

"I want each and every person living in our community to know they are being listened to and to know their concerns will be acted on."

Rotorua mayoral candidate Dennis Curtis. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua mayoral candidate Dennis Curtis. Photo / Stephen Parker

He said lessons from Rotorua's past should also be used in the future.

"I, along with my seven siblings, grew up in Rotorua. I remember being at Edmund Rice College when Johnny Lepper, who was deputy mayor at the time, came into our class to talk to us.

"He told us he had got to where he was simply by reading the Rotorua Daily Post every day. I recall my family going to Johnny's farm and getting firewood and he was right there stacking it with us.

"It's those simple, fundamental things, even as leaders, we need to go back to."

Curtis said he often met up with old school mates and they talked about changes contributing to their lifestyle.

Rotorua mayoral candidate Dennis Curtis. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua mayoral candidate Dennis Curtis. Photo / Stephen Parker

"We talk about sustainability which often turns to a conversation about when we went to school with a brown paper bag containing our wax-paper-wrapped sandwich.

"And then you realise how much has changed and how much we can learn from the past."

Curtis has an extensive history in commerce and has worked for a number of national and international businesses and organisations, particularly within the forestry sector.


He has also been involved in what he describes as the "heart's desire" aspect of his career.

"Before I was 21 I had been elected as chairman of my marae committee and I have served on various hapū and iwi trusts.

"While working overseas an aunty called and asked if I could come home and lend a hand," Curtis said.

"That led to my appointment as chief executive officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao."

He said the position had come at a great time for not only himself but his children.

"We had two children in an international school where they were learning a lot about different cultures, but we knew we needed to bring them home so they could learn about their own."

If elected as mayor, Curtis said one of the first things he would strive for would be accountability.

"Accountability and transparency of every elected and employed member of Rotorua Lakes Council and where every cent is spent," he said.

"But my focus, the thing that means the most to me, is letting people from all walks of life, from every suburb and rural area in Rotorua, know they have a voice and that someone is there to listen.

"And not just to listen for the sake of listening, but listening and then seeking answers or a solution or help from the right people."

Curtis said he would like to see young Rotorua people help the city become technologically advanced and help progress sustainability in employment, in housing and in business.

"I want our young people to shape our future. That is my personal reason for standing as mayor."