You may know his boat, but now he wants you to know his name.

And Sam Mordey intends to do that as he stands as a candidate in the upcoming Whanganui District Council elections.

As captain of the Motor Vessel Wairua, this is the first time Mordey has run for council and he says he is bringing his expertise as a businessman with him.

"With having a business here I understand the intricacies of what's going on and I feel that tourism, being such a big part of our local economy, I don't feel that that's adequately represented at the council level."


Mordey said he was motivated to run for council by the passion he has for the history of Whanganui.

He believes Whanganui has the most diverse transport, industrial, cultural and architectural heritage in all of New Zealand.

Mordey purchased the MV Wairua in 2016 after being passionate about river boats since age 12. Photo / Bevan Conley
Mordey purchased the MV Wairua in 2016 after being passionate about river boats since age 12. Photo / Bevan Conley

"I feel because I'm involved in heritage I know what it takes to maintain these things.

"I don't see that proactive and responsible maintenance of not only our historic infrastructure but our modern stuff as well."

Mordey said if the council was not proactive taking care of Whanganui's infrastructure now, it would require a higher spend in the future which would mean higher rates.

Being a ratepayer himself, he said rates are very high but he also understands they are very high for a reason.

"I think we need to find a balance between reduction of rates and a reduction of debts. It might be a case, for now, we have to maintain our relatively high rates to get things under control."

Mordey said by gaining control and freeing up debt, the council may have the ability to get on with new projects and find ways to lessen rates.


"Everything I promote has to have a balance of all the factors."

Born in Whanganui, Mordey left for a few years and then returned in 2006. He purchased the MV Wairua from Dave McDermid in 2016 when he was 23.

He has been passionate about riverboats since age 12 and said he intended to bring his life experiences as a candidate.

Mordey said he firmly believes a council needs to be diverse and have people from all walks of life who can bring a different background and expertise.

Mordey is campaigning under the slogan "Keeping Whanganui on course", tying his campaign to his work.