Whanganui's new council has met for the first time following the local elections for the formal declaration of the mayor, councillors and rural community board members.

The ceremony was held at the Royal Wanganui Opera House on Thursday.

After reciting the oath of office, mayor Hamish McDouall was presented with the mayoral robe and chain by Whanganui District Council chief executive Kym Fell.

Councillors taking their declarations were Josh Chandulal-Mackay, Hadleigh Reid, Jenny Duncan, Helen Craig, Kate Joblin, Charlie Anderson, Rob Vinsen, Alan Taylor, Brent Crossan and Graeme Young. Apologies were accepted from James Barron and Philippa Baker-Hogan.

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Jenny Duncan and Kate Joblin read declarations in te reo Māori.

Charlie Anderson and Brent Crossan were appointed to the Whanganui Rural Community Board, while James Barron was appointed to the youth committee.

A by-election will take place early next year to determine who will join the six others elected to the rural community board. There were not enough candidates to fill the vacancies in one rural subdivision.

Mayor Hamish McDouall, mayoress Elinor Harvey McDouall and council chief executive Kym Fell. Photo / Bevan Conley
Mayor Hamish McDouall, mayoress Elinor Harvey McDouall and council chief executive Kym Fell. Photo / Bevan Conley

In his address, McDouall acknowledged kaumātua John Maihi, who opened the council meeting with a mihi whakatau, former mayor Annette Main, former councillor Ailsa Stewart, and Bruce Dickson and Noel Cavanagh, who signed McDouall's nomination form.

McDouall also acknowledged his son, daughter, mother and his wife, mayoress Elinor Harvey McDouall.

The mayor said he believed in democracy and having the decisions and competency of representatives tested every three years.

"The people have spoken and have given an endorsement to the work of the previous council," McDouall said.

"While during the election campaign some candidates complimented me on my leadership, I want to thank the 2016-2019 council.

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"Your wise decisions made me being at the head pretty easy."

McDouall said he intends to suggest to the chairs of council's three main committees that an iwi representative be invited to sit among councillors and have speaking and voting rights to make up for the lack of an iwi voice at the council table.

The mayor said elected officials should always ask themselves why they put their hand up for election.

McDouall stated his reason was embodied in his family's history of service to the community, the job itself, and his children.

"I want all of you to ask why," McDouall said while looking to councillors.

"The electors have elected us, let's do our very best."

The next public council meeting takes place on November 19.