Council chief executive David Langford introduces Andrew Tripe to the chains of mayors. Photo / Bevan Conley
Andrew Tripe with Iana Takarangi at Pūtiki Marae.
Council chief executive David Langford introduces Andrew Tripe to the chains of mayors.
Elected officials and supporters are welcome at the Pūtiki Marae.
Photos / Bevan Conley
Moana Ellis, Local Democracy Journalist
Whanganui’s new mayor, his council and community council members were sworn in at a ceremony at Pūtiki Marae last night.
Andrew Tripe was sworn in by Whanganui District Council chief executive David Langford and presented the mayor’s chains. The mayor’s wife, Carolyn Nicklin, received the chains from the mayor, and new members of Whanganui District Council and Whanganui Rural Community Council were sworn in.
Pūtiki Marae invited the council and community council to hold their inaugural meetings for the first time in the old riverside marae.
Ten of the 12 municipal councilors – seven re-elected and five new – attended the inaugural meeting.
Advisors: Kate Joblin, Josh Chandulal-Mackay, Jenny Duncan and Charlotte Melser took the oath of office in te reo.
The other advisers – Helen Craig, Rob Vinsen, Michael Law, Glenda Brown, Peter Oskam and Ross Fallen – were sworn in English. Philippa Baker-Hogan and Charlie Anderson were not present.
The Whanganui Rural Community Council members who were sworn in were Judd Bailey, Bill Ashworth, Michael Dick, Sandra Falkner, Grant Skilton and David Wells.
The mayor named Craig as his deputy and said he was excited about the team around the council table and working with iwi and community leaders.
“As a council, we now look to the future, standing on a figurative balcony looking down and forward. We will have to be pragmatic and positive. The headwinds are starting to blow. us like a southern cold.”
Tripe said these included the global impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war, geopolitical unrest and fragile financial markets, as well as national issues across the country that were reflected in the local community.
“Inflation is higher than it has been in a generation, and with it the cost of living which brought tears to people’s eyes during my campaign.
“We have homelessness the city has never seen; loneliness and isolation, with many of our seniors suffering from increased social division that has grown over the past year.
“We have addiction, methamphetamine, alcohol and gambling issues that leave children without food at the table, and school attendance and absenteeism rates that will lead to social and economic disadvantage in the next generation.
“At the local government level, we face a litany of local government changes that we must navigate through to deliver the best possible outcome for our local democracy. The current emphasis on centralization and control will slowly erode our ability to shape our own Localism is what we will fight and fight for.
“We will have to lead boldly with wisdom, empathy and aroha.”
Meeting the challenges and pursuing the aspirations of the community would require unity and harmony, Tripe said.
“The reality is that our society is more divided than it may ever have been.
“Lately we have too often lived in uncertainty and fear, fear of being with others, fear of shaking hands with someone, fear that our streets are unsafe, fear to share an opinion that you might feel a reaction of hate.
“Starting today, we will lead this district obsessed with excellence and compassion, with inclusion and hope, and with balance and optimism.
“We will reject and resolve attitudes of fear, pessimism or cynicism. When others go low, we will go high. When we go high, it is easy to see ahead and see a way forward together.
“Whanganui District will be measured by the quality of life of the people who live there.”
Tripe said as mayor his priorities would be to protect local democracy and build a streamlined, responsive council. It would also support businesses, skills and employment, promote better living and housing, and highlight the specificities of the district: heritage, art, sport, awa and Unesco city of design.
“To seize our opportunities and meet our challenges, we will need to tap into the Tupua Te Kawa values of our awa to find strength, health and well-being. Ko te awa te matapuna o te ora.
“I’m all in and ready for the mahi. So in the future we’re going, he waka eke noa. A canoe we’re all in, bar none.”
• Public interest journalism funded by NZ On Air.