Message from the Mayor

Published on October 28, 2022

Mayor Bernie Wanden 2022.jpg

Tēnā koutou katoa 

It’s a real honour and a privilege to return as your Mayor for a second term. I’m looking forward to a positive, busy and constructive three years ahead. 

We have increased the size of Council from 11 to 13 members with the addition of two Māori Ward seats. This was a move that was unanimously supported by the previous Council and we are now one of 35 Councils in Aotearoa who have recognised that this offers fairer and more effective community representation, and one of many ways for Councils to honour the principle of partnership committed to in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

Therefore, a special congratulations to Councillors Nina Hori Te Pa and Justin Tamihana for being elected as the first Māori Ward Councillors in the Horowhenua. We look forward to their insights, perspectives and valuable contribution they will make this term. 

One of the characteristics of our new Council is the number of Elected Members who are born and bred in the Horowhenua or who have resided here for a considerable time. We are also a younger and more diverse Council, in age and ethnicity, which is more reflective of the community we represent. I would like to extend a very warm welcome to new Councillors Mike Barker, Alan Young, Rogan Boyle, Paul Olsen, Clint Grimstone and Jonathan Procter. 

While there has been quite a change in the make-up of Council, there is a great deal of knowledge and experience that is returning, which will be invaluable to not only myself, but to those who are new to the role. Welcome back Councillors Ross Brannigan, David Allan, Piri-Hira Tukapua and Sam Jennings.  

I would also like to extend warm congratulations to Te Awahou Foxton Community Board members Trevor Chambers, Nola Fox, John Girling, David Roache and Brett Russell.  Meet your Councillors & Te Awahou Foxton Community Board Members.

Last Wednesday the Inaugural Meeting of Council was held where all Elected Members were sworn in including members of Te Awahou Foxton Community Board. It was a special occasion shared with family, friends and members of the public. As part of this meeting I announced the appointment of David Allan to the Deputy Mayor role, which he accepted. Deputy Mayor Allan has been part of the Local Government scene in this district for 24 years and is a person I respect greatly, and I have appreciated his views and opinions. I wish Deputy Mayor Allan all the very best in this role.  

We as a team have a big job ahead working through a defining time in the history of Horowhenua, with many challenges and opportunities setting the direction for the future of our community. We need to find sustainable solutions for climate change, the Future of the Levin Landfill and a Long Term Plan Amendment. Obviously we can’t do it alone. We need your input and engagement to guide our decision making process and ensure we’re a connected community.  

The construction of the new Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Community Facility is planned to commence this month. Read the full Waitārere Beach Surf Life Saving Community Facility article. It’s pretty exciting to see the aspirations of the community and the Surf Life Saving community, together with Council, come to life. 

Another project launched last month was the new Horowhenua destination brand, a collaborative project that delivers on a key action of the Horowhenua Blueprint. The tono or call to action came from the idea that the whenua embraces and nourishes people wherever they choose to live or visit. We can all be proud of the thought and engagement that has gone into this piece of work and the outcomes. Have a look at the new website, and you can read more in the Horowhenua’s new destination brand launched article

In 2019, Levin was announced as a host town for refugees. Although their journey here has been delayed by COVID-19, we welcomed the first refugee families from Columbia last month. It’s heart-warming to see the interest from local people from all walks of life working with Red Cross to support and welcome the newcomers to the district.  

Bernie Wanden

Bernie Wanden