Kapiti's new Council has been sworn in: L to R, Cr Jackie Elliott, Cr Rob McCann, Cr Bernie Randall, Cr Jocelyn Prvanov, Dep Mayor Janet Holborow, Mayor K. Gurunathan, Cr James Cootes, Cr Gwynn Compton, Cr Sophie Handford, Cr Martin Halliday, Cr Angela Buswell.
In a very bi-cultural ceremony at Southwards last week the re-elected mayor K Gurunathan and councillors were officially sworn in along with community board members for Otaki, Waikanae, Paekakariki-Raumati, and Paekakariki.
Set against a superb natural bush bachdrop, Kapiti Council chief executive Wayne Maxwell acknowledged the welcome from local Iwi before swearing in Mayor Gurunathan.
At the meeting, which was also the first official meeting of the new council, the Mayor announced his choice for deputy mayor who will again be Cr Janet Holborow who was elected as a districtwide councillor.
The youngest elected councillor, Sophie Handford 18, who will represent the Raumati-Paekakariki Ward, kept with the theme of the evening and read her entire inauguration declaration in Te Reo Maori.
Kaumatua Kahu Ropata spoke on behalf of the District's Iwi saying to the Mayor, Councillors and Community Board Members "When you leave your tenure of Council what will your taonga be, what will be your legacy to the people. That is your challenge, so be strong and be brave as leaders of your community."
In his speech the Mayor congratulated those elected and highlighted their role as community representatives by telling them "You don't own the public office, the public office owns you."
He says without a shadow of doubt KCDC is a good organisation but we face big challenges and the biggest of these is climate change.
Responding to Iwi the Mayor stated "we need to reset the partnership with local iwi and we need to paddle the waka together."