The Rotorua community has elected two new trustees to join four re-elected trustees on the Rotorua Trust for the next three years.

The trustees will act as guardians of the trust's $160 million fund for the next three years, determining how to use proceeds of the fund to make a better Rotorua for all.

In the provisional election results, Stewart Edward, Tamati Coffey, Jo-Anne Le Grouw, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait have been re-elected to the trust, while Gregg Brown and Mike Keefe have been elected for the first time.

It was the second time Mike Keefe ran for election - this time successful - and he said it was a heartening journey to have people he didn't know supporting him.


"To get across the line with so many good candidates, it's very humbling. I don't think there is a better word for it."

He said being a trustee was an opportunity to do something the previous trust had not thought of and he was excited for the adventure that awaits.

"Now the hard work starts."

Gregg Brown said he was pleasantly surprised when he discovered he had been elected, given "there were so many fantastic candidates".

"I have worked eight years for the Bay Trust and I felt like I am able to make a good contribution in this space.

"We'll do our best at least."

More than 47,000 voting papers were issued throughout the Rotorua Community and by November 23, 12,114 votes were cast - a total of 25.64 per cent of eligible voters.

Online voting made up 14.6 per cent of the total vote with 1773 votes received online.

Previous Rotorua Trust trustees Sandra Kai Fong, (left), Stewart Edward, Tamati Coffey, Jo-Anne La Grouw, and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait. Photo / File
Previous Rotorua Trust trustees Sandra Kai Fong, (left), Stewart Edward, Tamati Coffey, Jo-Anne La Grouw, and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait. Photo / File

Trust manager Tony Gill said there were always going to be at least two new trustees elected, with vacancies left by Sandra Kai Fong, who decided not to stand after nine years on the trust, and Aunty Bea Yates, who died during the last term.

"The trust has achieved a lot in the past three years, particularly around setting its future direction and priority grant areas, and developing its overall kaupapa of a better Rotorua for all."

He said the immediate focus was now on familiarising new members with the trust's work, as well as starting the process of defining what the trust would be collectively seeking to achieve over the next three years.

There were 30 nominations for the trust's 2019 elections, which Gill said highlighted the strong interest of people in the community who wanted to make a better Rotorua for all.

"There would be few, if any, people in the Rotorua community who haven't benefited from a granting decision over the past 25 years since the trust was formed.

"Trustees have an important role not only in deciding the key areas where funding should go, but also making decisions around future investments to ensure the fund can continue to support the community for generations to come."

Gill said the new trust would meet for the first time on November 27 to agree on a timetable for future meetings.

The first official trust meeting would be held in early December, where a chairperson would be elected.

Election results remained provisional at this stage, pending the counting of special votes. Final results would be announced by November 27.

Previously Gill told the Rotorua Daily Post the elections were an opportunity for the Rotorua community to have their say in whose vision they believed would make a better Rotorua for all.

"The decisions made by Rotorua Trust impact on almost every Rotorua resident. In the past three years alone, the trust has approved more than $20 million in grants."

What is the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust
Established in 1994 to serve the community of Rotorua, the trust was formed out of the sale of Rotorua Electricity Limited – one of New Zealand's first power companies, established in 1901.

On the trust website it states, $110 million had been returned to the Rotorua community as grants to local causes and activities, and for the development of infrastructure, including the Rotorua Energy Events Centre, Parksyde and the Rotorua Arts Village, as well as the undergrounding of many kilometres of powerlines across the city.

Throughout the trust's history to date, the elected board has included one or more current or former city counsellors.

This has reinforced an association with the Rotorua Lakes Council without compromising the trust's ability to work independently for the benefit of the Rotorua community.

Full list of Candidates
• Carol (Kararaina) Beckett
• Kylie Brackfield
• Gregg Brown
• Hasmukh (Hari) Chhagan
• Tamati Coffey
• Mike Dingwall
• Stewart Edward
• Adam Ellis
• Jane Eynon-Richards
• Ben Hingston
• Jenny Hotch
• Karen Hunt
• Mike Keefe
• Jo-Anne La Grouw
• Gavin Long
• Philip Macalister
• Brett Marvelly
• Trevor Maxwell
• Darren McGarvie
• Raina Meha
• Jan Middlemiss
• Watu Mihinui
• Murray Patchell
• Katie Paul
• Alison Perrin
• Merepeka Raukawa-Tait
• Gabrielle Thurston
• Paulene Walsh
• Charlie Windell
• Kevin Winters