Today’s meeting of the Auckland Council Governing Body was the last of the 2013-2016 electoral term.
Mayor Len Brown acknowledged the work and achievements of the last term and of his time as the first mayor of a united Auckland.
“My heart was full when I came into this place. It is now even fuller – of love for this beautiful city that, for a short time, we were guardians of.
“I acknowledge the people of Auckland for giving me the honour of being the first mayor of this city.
“I have seen a change in the spirit of our city. Our progress with youth employment means our young people have a pathway of hope out of our schools. The strengthening of our relationship with Māori and their representation in this council chamber shows how we have matured. And to break ground on the City Rail Link (CRL), after a century of debate and discussion, and alongside the Government, is a message to Aucklanders.
“That message is, if we can do in five to six years what has been talked about for 100 years – then what else can this city do?
“Auckland sits on a strong pathway forward. It is now a city that is prepared for change and is accepting of transformation. We can do more things together than we can divided.
“I have no regrets about any of the decisions this council has made and thank each of its members for being part of the founding council, during the first six years of our united city. You have given the next council a great base to work off."
The Mayor was presented with a tokotoko by Independent Māori Statutory Board Chair David Taipari and IMSB member Glenn Wilcox on behalf of the council. The specially-designed tokotoko is a traditional Māori ceremonial walking stick carved by Auckland-based master carver and cultural symbologist Wikuki Kingi (Tainui).
Its name is ‘Te pai me te whai rawa o Tāmaki – the abundance and prosperity of Auckland’.
The Mayor acknowledged the support and leadership of Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse.
“She is an opinionated, informed, strong and great leader in her own right. She can be depended on to be loyal and effective in the council chamber, and she can be proud of what her leadership has achieved.
“Penny is a stunning leader and someone for whom this city should have a sweet space in its heart,” he said.
On behalf of the councillors, Ms Hulse presented the Mayor with a pohutukawa tree from the Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) legacy seedling collection.
The Deputy Mayor acknowledged Len Brown’s positivity, determination and bravery.
“History should be kind to you – you are a kind man; you have been a fair chair, you are even-handed and unable to bear a grudge; you don’t react to goading or the slings and arrows that head in your direction.
“The first three years were incredible. Like a sequel to a blockbuster movie, the second term was always going to be tough however your utter belief in the CRL will be your legacy and should be yours alone.
“It has been a hell of a journey but the destination has made it all worthwhile,” she said.
More about the tokotoko
The hand piece of the tokotoko was intricately made by cutting, splicing and laminating 192 individual pieces of wood sourced from around the world – including English Oak, native Totara and Island Kauri. It has been adorned with pāua shell inlays sourced locally and greenstone from Te Waipounamu.
The traditional carved patterns along the body of the tokotoko are a combination of tribal designs that are unique to mana whenua in Tāmaki Makaurau.