The new local board enjoying kapa haka performances from the island’s primary school students. Photo Merrie Hewetson

The Waiheke Local Board held the first meeting of its new term at the Ostend War Memorial Hall on Thursday 3 November.

Auckland Council’s Director of Infrastructure and Environmental Services Barry Potter officiated and pointed to Waiheke’s big turnout compared to other inaugural meetings around the country. Members of the audience included Waitematā and Gulf Ward councillor Mike Lee, Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick, Labour MP Helen White and 2022 Waiheke local board candidate Blair Anderson.

The event started with a powhiri by Ngāti Pāoa, welcoming Auckland Council representatives.

Then students from Waiheke and Te Huruhi primary schools stole the show with an emotional delivery of four waiata, including Leonard Cohen’s iconic Hallelujah in English and te reo Māori. The performance culminated in a haka, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

After the children’s presentation, director Potter thanked Mike and Chlöe for their attendance and took the elected board members’ oaths. The electees made their oral declarations and signed their written declarations accompanied by families, friends and campaign supporters.

The first to take her declaration was re-elected member Cath Handley, followed by Kylee Mathews, Robin Tucker, Bianca Ranson and Paul Walden.

During her declaration speech, Cath addressed the turbulent times we are living in and emphasised climate action and the role of the island as part of the solution. She then thanked supporters and family members and gave special thanks to Mike and Chlöe.
• Silvia Massa

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