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GOLD gumboots, an open tourer, a ribbon cutting, Community Honours Awards and a welcome to new citizens were all on the programme for Manawatu District Mayor, Ian McKelvie, during his final official engagements this week.
After serving the district for nine years, Mr McKelvie was to resign at today’s final Manawatu District Council meeting of the year as a result of becoming the MP for Rangitikei in Election 2011 last month.
Two of his remaining public duties were on Sunday at Feilding’s annual Christmas carnival and parade and the opening of the Kimbolton Road redevelopment stage 1 project in the town’s CBD.
After cutting the ribbon and unveiling a plaque near the corner of Kimbolton Road and Stafford Street to signify the new upgrades in the area, Mr McKelvie and wife, Sue, were the elected “community celebrities” for the parade, leading out the 70 floats in a sleek convertible tourer.
The gold gumboots (to acknowledge his rural background), as well as a variety of hats including a cycle helmet, made an appearance at a farewell morning tea on Monday at the council’s cafeteria attended by staff.
Mr McKelvie – after surviving a customary send-off – thanked everyone for their “fantastic support” over the years and for “being so kind to me”.
“I couldn’t have had a better thing to do in life than to have been mayor of the Manawatu District and work out of this building. I think it is amazing and I don’t think people realise what an extraordinary privilege it is to be the spokesman for a community of 30,000 people.”
Mr McKelvie said he had also come to realise how “tough” a role the job could be when visiting families who had suffered extraordinary personal tragedies or had lost everything in the 2004 floods.
“It’s easy to criticise any public organisation, but I think that given all the issues that have been faced, staff have done a fantastic job and deserve the support of whoever gets elected to run the council,” he said.
Mr McKelvie’s last official duties at tomorrow night's council meeting were to conduct the citizenship ceremony for eight candidates and to present Community Honours Awards to three recipients in recognition of their service to the district.
Deputy Mayor Matt Bell is to assume mayoral duties until a new mayor is sworn-in following a Mayoral By-Election on Wednesday, March 7.