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Hamilton’s mayor and councillors officially sworn in

Hamilton’s mayor and councillors have kicked off their three-year term on the same page about what they’ll bring to the Council table.

Energy and enthusiasm, passion and pride were key themes as Mayor Paula Southgate and her fellow Hamilton City Council elected members were officially sworn in today (Thursday 24 October).

“Being Mayor of Hamilton, a city that is truly on its way to being a great city, is a privilege and an honour,” said Mayor Southgate. “And I know it’s also a huge responsibility.

“I will be dedicated to leading a team of councillors who have great passion and purpose, whose role is to meet and exceed the needs and aspirations of our communities.”

The ceremony saw three new councillors inaugurated, Kesh Naidoo-Rauf, Maxine van Oosten and Sarah Thomson, who join successful incumbents Mark Bunting, Martin Gallagher, Ryan Hamilton, Dave Macpherson, Angela O’Leary, Rob Pascoe, and the new Deputy Mayor, Geoff Taylor.

Margaret Forsyth and Ewan Wilson have been re-elected after previously being on the Council prior to the last triennium.

Pride in Hamilton and excitement and humility about working for the city and its people were commonly mentioned in the councillor addresses.

“This council will be guided by strong community engagement and meaningful public participation,” said Mayor Southgate.

“We are public servants and it is our job to serve… We will need to make some hard decisions, we will need to be bold.

“There will be times when those decisions may be unpopular and, frankly, that’s life as a politician. Tough calls do need to be made.”

The ceremony also saw the formal unveiling of three new or restored city treasures.

The robes worn by Mayor Southgate were made for Hamilton’s first woman mayor, Margaret Evans, now altered to include a korowai gifted to the city by Waikato Tainui. The original robes were identical to sets made for the late Maaori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu and former Governor General Dame Catherine Tizard.

“It is a privilege to wear these robes and they feel very special,” said Mayor Southgate. “It is fitting to do so when we see the number of women around the Council table grow from three to six.”

The mayoral chains have had new shields added, with Mayor Southgate the first name engraved following the extensions.

Mayor Southgate was also presented with a ceremonial koo (digging stick). Carved by Inia Te Wiata Jnr on behalf of the hapuu of Kirikiriroa and gifted to the Council, the koo is named Kookoo I ara, meaning to clear the pathway. It will be used at sod turning events to signal the permission, protection and blessing of new development in Hamilton.

Councillor O’Leary was absent from the ceremony due to illness and will be sworn in at the first Council meeting on 28 November.


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