More than 50 years of combined community service and institutional knowledge was honoured and farewelled at a poignant penultimate Hamilton City Council meeting today.
The ceremonial affair saluted outgoing councillors Dave Macpherson (24 years on Council), Martin Gallagher (21 years), Rob Pascoe (nine years) and Mark Bunting (six years), who have all opted to stand down ahead of next month’s local government elections.
All four were chairs of Council committees this term (Macpherson – Strategic Growth, Gallagher – Environment, Pascoe – Finance, Bunting – Community) – yet another indication of the legacy they’ll leave behind.
Chief Executive Lance Vervoort, a mere 12-year veteran of Council, paid tribute to the dedication each had shown to Hamilton and the constituents they have represented over the years.
“I’d like to acknowledge your commitment and all that you have achieved whilst you have been on Council,” said Vervoort. “Your sage advice has been invaluable and much appreciated.”
“We are definitely losing a lot of experience and you are all leaving some big shoes to fill! I wish you all the best for the future and what you do beyond Council.”
Vervoort also took the opportunity to recognise the work of all Elected Members during the last Council term.
“A big thankyou to the whole Council for all your hard work, long hours and for working as a dedicated team over the past three years to improve the wellbeing of Hamiltonians during what has been an extraordinary and challenging time. Probably the most difficult in living memory.
“As a governance wing, you have had robust discussion and debate on many challenging matters. The way the Council has been bold, ambitious, adaptable, inclusive, solution-focussed and forward thinking has seen us make immense progress on achieving our five priorities in the 10-Year Plan whilst taking a long-term view to the city’s needs and aspirations.
“In my view you can all be proud of what has been achieved and I know staff are also proud to have worked as part of this team in making our city a better place.”
Special mention was also made of Council’s Maangai Maaori representatives: Olly Te Ua, Te Pora Thompson-Evans, Norm Hill, James Whetū and Jaydene Kana.
Having been introduced in 2018 to represent iwi and maataa waka and bring te ao Maaori views to the Council table, the continuation of the Maangai Maaori positions will now be up to the incoming Council following the introduction of the Kirikiriroa Maaori Ward.
“You have added an invaluable dimension and Maaori perspective to our committees. You brought great mana to the issues and opportunities we have tangled with at our committee meetings and in your time here have seen Maaori Ward councillors become a reality in this election and He Pou Manawa Ora developed and endorsed by Council.”