Mayor Steve Chadwick’s inaugural speech
Inaugural Meeting of Rotorua District Council
30 October 2013
‘Let’s make this city buzz…’
Kia ora tatou ki a koutou katoa - e hapai ana i tenei kaupapa.
E nga Rangatira, E nga tumuaki, E nga iwi.
E hoa ma,
E te whanau kua hui mai – nei, ki tenei whare ki te korero i nga mema hou.
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa
I stand before you today as the elected leader of the community that I love - the community that welcomed me as a visitor from Hawkes Bay – the community that has given me the opportunity and challenge to show a new and different leadership for the next era of change in our wonderful place.
John and I have lived here since 1975 when we returned from our OE. We had searched Aotearoa for a place in the sun, for a bi-cultural city on the move, a place to raise our children, a place that could give us both the chance to contribute our talents and skills as a Midwife and Lawyer.
Rotorua for us, was the perfect place to be. And being the mid-point between Auckland and Wellington, it was the perfect stopover for our friends and family who were never far away. We set up house in Koutu (or as John liked to put it – in Lower Kawaha Point) and we gradually became immersed in community life, school boards, community trusts and professional organisations.
Our three children went to local schools and then went on to gain degrees, travel the world and they returned to Aotearoa to raise their own families. We are truly blessed to have six mokopuna and one more is on the way.
Our commitment to this place is symbolised by our planting of a millennium tree on Pukeroa Hill.
I want to thank John for his understated love, support and pride in our achievements together. He is so tolerant and clever and on any given day you can never be sure what he will come up with next. With him, life is never boring.
Our kids grew up with wonderful families who were very much part of the Rotorua community and who have always supported us in our various adventures - dear friends like the Edwards, the Koutu Mafia of the Grants and the Puhas. They too, like us, were not from here but we became a part of the Rotorua landscape.
We had close links with Ohinemutu through the Yates and Morrison whanau and those friendships endure today.
Starting my journey here in the health sector, I was inspired by Inez Kingi with the establishment of Tipu Ora and Te Utuhina Manaakitanga Trust. In my eyes, Inez and Bishop were true pioneers in that field. Together we learned the meaning of enduring relationships with communities and how to get things done.
Bishop Manuhuia Bennett taught me about politics, patience and the art of the possible. He provided me with wisdom and loving guidance whenever I was confused or unsure of tikanga and the colourful history of Te Arawa. As important, he tolerated with a wry smile my stance that I was spiritual but not religious.
Don Stafford was my historian along with Hapi Winiata and through their friendship and erudition I learned a lot about Rotorua and its people – always willing to share, always looking out for me - one armed with books and the other with whaikorero.
I entered local body politics and stood for Council at the urging of Glenys Searancke and Lyall Thurston. It was their wily political skills that taught me a lot of what made my next step possible. Grahame Hall and Johnny Lepper taught me that polar opposites work if you have a shared vision. John Keaney was another mentor who was always ready for a chat and advice wisely given.
Imagine their collective response when I then entered central government for another phase of political life! They all remained loyal friends who were able to respect different views of how to progress issues.
To Glenys and my other fellow survivors from that time, Charles Sturt and Trevor Maxwell, I say thank you for hanging around long enough to welcome me back - for we were all on Council together on my first foray into local body politics in 1996.
Back then, I was most proud of chairing the steering group that established the School for Young Parents, an initiative that endures as a successful model today.
My experiences in Wellington taught me perseverance, patience, the value of teamwork and having stamina in order to survive and achieve goals. For this was the art of politics that I loved so much – the art of how to get things done.
It was the slow-burn Smoke-Free Environment Act and Newborn Hearing screening that I am most proud to have been associated with when I was in Parliament.
Added to that were the community pluses – such as the re-build of Rotorua hospital, the completion of Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa and the securing of funding to start the journey of the clean-up of our lakes – all of which I am proud to have played a part in.
I loved working under the leadership of Helen Clark and she remains significant to my style of leadership today. She is a heroine in my eyes and getting out of the country to let John Key pick up from her term also taught me how to move on gracefully.
We love this place because it has been good to us. John has always described Rotorua as the only city in New Zealand that grew up around the Pa and that is what has defined us in many ways. Here’s how to look at something with fresh eyes - we moved on from Koutu to live in Kawaha Point. As a reminder, John tells everyone that we now live in Upper Koutu
Going full circle, I have now come back home to this Pa-City with a kete full of wisdom, experience and skills I have picked up along the way – my mission is to use that kete to lead Rotorua into its next exciting phase.
I will be focussed on building a team of skilled and committed individuals to develop a broader and deeper sense of community involvement to make our dreams come true. We all agree that vision, drive and sustainable growth are the key to making that happen.
It is one thing to be measured on more jobs, increased investment and reduced debt. It is another to create a Heartland City that is simply the best, where the rest of the country can’t help but talk about us – and where people come from around the world to see for themselves. From the Pa City to the Spa City.
Let’s recreate ourselves, let’s define a new attitude that expresses pride and a sense of place and purpose, let’s make this city buzz with excitement and expectation. That’s where I’m heading – why don’t you join me?
“Kaua ma te waewae tutuki engari ma te upoko pakaru.”
“Persevere with determination, don’t be put off by the small obstacles.”
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
Hon Steve Chadwick JP
30 October 2013