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The decision-making table is where it’s at

April 2022

The Council table that is. Retiring district councillor Henare O’Keefe is encouraging Pāharakeke whanau to consider putting up their hand to stand in the coming

Hastings District Council elections.

Nominations will open on July 15.

“We need good people whose hearts are in the right place; who have passion for Flaxmere but also for our whole Heretaunga community.”

He has some practical advice for those considering standing. “First, do your homework and understand what Council does.

"It’s everything, from parks to water pipes, libraries to roads. They decide where you can build and what – right down to how many toilets you can have. There is not a day in your life when you won’t be affected by something Council does or decides.”

He admits that when he won that first election 15 years ago, it was a “huge culture shock. I didn’t even know where the Council chamber was. It was pretty daunting.”

“But it doesn’t need to be. If you make it there is plenty of help; from past and current councillors, to staff. You just have to put your hand up.”

He is adamant that councillors don’t have to be

good at everything. “There are a whole range of councillors, all with different skills. Stick to what you know, learn all you can, and bring your passion and your heart.”

Most of all: Enjoy it. “I’ve loved every minute of it.

I was the last person anyone expected to stand, including me. I told my mum I wasn’t clever enough. She told me: ‘We don’t want clever son, we want your heart and soul on the table for us’. She was right, those are the most important qualities.”


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