Mayor Steve Chadwick has appointed a mix of old and new to help her lead the Rotorua Lakes Council with women making up four of the top five positions.

Dave Donaldson has been appointed deputy mayor, a position he has held since 2013.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait will continue to lead the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee with newly-elected councillor Sandra Kai Fong being appointed her deputy, replacing Karen Hunt, who did not stand in this year's elections.

The new councillors have been sworn on to the Rotorua Lakes Council.

Tania Tapsell has been promoted to chairwoman of the Operations and Monitoring Committee, a committee she was deputy chairwoman of during the previous term, and newly-elected councillor Mercia Yates will be her deputy.

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The committee was previously chaired by retired long-term councillor Charles Sturt.

New councillor Sandra Kai Fong is sworn in at the council chamber today. Photo / Stephen Parker
New councillor Sandra Kai Fong is sworn in at the council chamber today. Photo / Stephen Parker

Chadwick said her appointments were "reflecting on the need for renewal".

"I will assess this on an annual basis and there could be change in the future."

The council mix has never been so diverse, with four Māori, three Pākehā, two Asian and one Indian elected members. There is also a mix of young and old with the youngest being Fisher Wang, 19, followed by Tapsell, 26.

She said Shirley Trumper will lead the Rural Community Board and Phill Thomass will lead the Lakes Community Board.

In announcing Donaldson as her deputy, Chadwick said she had a "high trust" relationship with him.

Dave Donaldson has been appointed deputy mayor. Photo / Stephen Parker
Dave Donaldson has been appointed deputy mayor. Photo / Stephen Parker

"This role is definitely not a popularity contest."

Chadwick said the council would establish its priorities in the coming months but there was a lot of work to do, including a big programme of work already under way.

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"I feel buoyed up by that wonderful welcome this morning … We have a great team and I really look forward to us all achieving success for our community."

Earlier, the four newly-elected council members - Yates, Wang, Reynold Macpherson and Kai Fong - were welcomed with a full council-led pо̄hiri alongside their fellow re-elected councillors Tapsell, Raukawa-Tait, Raj Kumar, Peter Bentley, Donaldson, Trevor Maxwell and re-elected mayor Chadwick.

Rotorua Lakes Community Board members Nick Chater, Phill Thomass, Jennifer Rothwell and Sandra Goodwin were also welcomed as well as Rotorua Rural Community Board members Shirley Trumper, Bryce Heard, Ben Hollier and Sarah Thomson.

The new-look Rotorua Lakes Council is officially welcomed.

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Wednesday, 23 October 2019

The pōhiri was held in the council building and council staff, invited guests and friends and family of councillors were present.

Ngāti Whakaue kaumatua Monty Morrison opened the official welcome.

Pohiri for elected councillors and board members at the Rotorua Lakes Council today. Photo / Stephen Parker
Pohiri for elected councillors and board members at the Rotorua Lakes Council today. Photo / Stephen Parker

Kingi Biddle spoke on behalf on the new council representatives while newly-appointed kaitiaki ahurea Māori Arapeta Tahana responded on behalf of the council.

The new faces of the Rotorua Lakes Council (from left) Fisher Wang, Mercia Yates, Reynold Macpherson and Sandra Kai Fong. Photo / Stephen Parker
The new faces of the Rotorua Lakes Council (from left) Fisher Wang, Mercia Yates, Reynold Macpherson and Sandra Kai Fong. Photo / Stephen Parker

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Chadwick said it was the first time the council had welcomed its new council in such a full council-led pо̄hiri.

"This is the new way here and it's the first time it's been done like that. This was all our council staff welcoming us, and that's huge."

Wang said he found the welcome "amazing".

"It was so cool to see the community get together and be so supportive of each other. The atmosphere is so respectful and really welcoming."

Pohiri for elected councillors and board members at the Rotorua Lakes Council today. Photo / Stephen Parker
Pohiri for elected councillors and board members at the Rotorua Lakes Council today. Photo / Stephen Parker

Kai Fong said she was always touched by pо̄hiri ceremonies but this was extra special for her.

"It was nice to have that formal welcome and even though I have been to quite a few of them now I found it quite moving."

Yates said being elected still felt surreal.

"But it just felt so right in so many ways. I talk about Rotorua being our melting pot and this was the amalgamation of cultures being welcomed to the council."

Councillors take their chairs today. Photo / Stephen Parker
Councillors take their chairs today. Photo / Stephen Parker

Macpherson said to him he felt like he was "coming home".

"It was like coming on to my home marae and being back among Ngai Takoto and Te Rarawa [Macpherson's affiliations]."

He said it was a fitting welcome given the diverse council.

"It was absolutely appropriate because it means we have to discover how to be inter-cultural."

The final Rotorua Lakes Council election counts:

Mayoralty

Steve Chadwick 9221

Reynold Macpherson 6579

Rob Kent 2689

Dennis Curtis 2554

Informal 31

Blank voting paper 701

Council
Tania Tapsell 10,213
Raj Kumar 9962
Sandra Kai Fong 8950
Mercia Yates 8262
Merepeka Raukawa-Tait 7493
Peter Bentley 7414
Fisher Wang 7238
Reynold Macpherson 6620
Dave Donaldson 6317
Trevor Maxwell 6230