The latest aspiring Whanganui councillor knows hypnotherapy and ballroom dancing as well as the workings of wastewater aerators.

Stan Hood says there are a lot of good people on Whanganui District Council and he wants to join them.

He's a self-confessed geek and nerd, with skills in electronics, radio and engineering. To balance that, he undertook a degree in sociology and anthropology and finished it in 2014. He's also trained in hypnotherapy and does ballroom dancing.

He says what he has to offer is an open mind, organisational ability, teamwork, listening skills and logic.


He's written a lot of letters to the Wanganui Chronicle, most recently on the troubled wastewater system - he thinks it would work with good aerators - and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He doesn't think it will be good for local industry.

Mr Hood was raised in Whanganui and was one of the science and engineering stars during his four years at Wanganui Technical College. He was encouraged to go to university but got an engineering job instead, working in radio, ignition systems and electronics.

In 1993, when he couldn't get a job here in Whanganui, he left for Christchurch because it had the most job vacancies in the country.

He stayed for years, servicing and maintaining industrial machinery, teaching electronics to the long-term unemployed and supervising a team assembling television sets.

Though he loved being a geek he wanted more, and began full-time study at Canterbury University in 2009. "I wanted to be a more rounded personality. Sitting over a soldering iron for decades was all very well but I wanted to see what the rest of life was like."

The earthquakes in Christchurch interrupted that. He escaped to Whanganui in 2012, then finished his degree at Victoria University in 2013 and 2014.

For the past five years, he's also been the de facto national secretary for the Autism Spectrum Kiwis (ASK) Trust, which helps adults with autism.

"I consider I've had an incredibly successful life because I've achieved everything I have set out to do. I didn't love money, I loved what I did."

Now a healthy 70, he's looking for something else to do.

He's willing to go head-to-head with anyone with an engineering degree to debate the wastewater issue. But he wouldn't try to overturn council's decision to build a new treatment plant either.

And he wouldn't campaign on reducing rates, saying it takes money to make things happen. What he is promising to do is listen to people's needs.

"If it came to a difference between maximising corporate dollars and maximising the welfare of people I would go for the welfare of people," he said.