Former Tararua district mayor Roly Ellis says that as humbled as he is to be recognised in this year's New Year Honours roll call, his achievements in local office are just as much credit to the teamwork of those around him.

Mr Ellis has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to local government, which he entered in 2009 after being elected a North Ward councillor for the Tararua District Council in a byelection, becoming mayor in 2010, a role he held for six years.

As mayor he held the economic business and development portfolio and oversaw growth in the farming and urban industries.

Setting up an economic development office was one of the platforms he stood for mayor on, and he said work to make it happen started within a few weeks of being in office.


"This has included things like communication, tourism and events and helping small business owners that needed a hand up."

He also focused on infrastructure, and obtained funding for three major projects for the district - water storage facilities at Pahiatua and Woodville, and an upgrade of the Saddle Road.

"It took the entire six years to get the funding for Saddle Road.

"When these kind of things happen there's so much praise and thanks that must go to the team from everyone in that office to the councillors and contractors who all worked very hard to get so much infrastructure done."

He was also involved with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, which in Tararua included a building and carpentry course initiative at the Eastern Institute of Technology.

Mr Ellis is the president of the Dannevirke and Districts Returned Services Association and also a committee member of the Woodville-Pahiatua Racing Club.

He said he did not contest this year's local government elections due to issues with his hearing, leading to concerns he would not be able to contribute as he would like to.

Ongoing medical issues to do with his hearing have taken a lot of his attention since leaving local politics, and as such he said he had not had time to miss being in office yet.

Mr Ellis emigrated to New Zealand in 1992, lured here by the Kiwi contacts he made through the successful shearing and fencing contracting business he ran in England.

He first lived at Kinloch, near Taupo, before moving to Tararua in 1996 where he has been ever since.