Andy sworn in as Mayor of Wellington – Inauguration Speech

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi,

Taranaki Whanui, Ngati Toa Rangatira

Kei te mihi, kei te mihi.

E nga mata waka

E te whānau o Ngāti Poneke –

E nga hau e wha o te motu

ngā mihi ki a koutou.


Ko Te Whanganui-a-Tara te moana

Ko Wharangi te pae maunga

Ko Kaiwharawhara me Karori nga awa

Ko Ngai Poneke toku iwi

Ko Ngaio me Cashmere me Karori West me Scots me Wellington College nga kura

Ko Wikitoria te whare Wananga

Ko wai tenei e tu ake nei

Ko Andy Foster taku ingoa


No reira, nei ra te mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa


Greetings Taranaki Whanui , Ngati Toa Rangatira

And welcome to everyone here – the whanau of Poneke, this city

Whatever your waka

From wherever you have come – which ever wind blew you here – welcome

I have saluted my moana Te Whanganaui a Tara , my mountains – the range of mountains that sit behind Wellington city and which we call Wharangi which is what we call the Onslow Western Ward, my little rivers the Kaiwharawhara and the Karori, and my places of learning  in this City

I have saluted my iwi – the people of this beautiful city – so welcome everyone

Your excellencies – it’s wonderful to have many of the members of the international diplomatic community here – welcome – thank you for gracing us with your presence

Members of Parliament (Hon Ron Mark, Paul Eagle, Nicola Willis) – nice to have you here, welcome – thank you for gracing us with your presence too

Daran Ponter – newly elected Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council – welcome and congratulations to you as well

Kevin and all for the Council whanau – Council staff – who work so hard for the city, thank you for all that you do for us and will continue to do for us

Families, friends, special guests – you are all special guests – welcome, welcome, welcome

Thank you all for gracing us with your presence on this special occasion.

Council colleagues welcome.

Especially those who are new to the Council.  Congratulations on being elected or re-elected.

You have worked hard to be here. Walked streets, knocked on doors, delivered pamphlets, spoken at meetings, goodness knows how many of those there were, you’ve worked with media and social media. Congratulations!

Thank you to outgoing councillors and mayor – not getting elected to something is one thing; defeat, losing what you already had, and I’ve seen this many times over the years, is something else –  losing your dreams and aspirations is really tough. We will thank you more formally in coming weeks. Thank you for your various services to our city.

Thank all the families, the friends, the campaign teams who worked really hard during the campaign supporting me, but supporting every one of these councillors here. You’ve given an enormous amount to these councillors and therefore you have given an enormous amount to the city, because you believed in me and in those who are now sitting behind me.

Especially the families – you give up a lot – you would often have missed your mother, father, partner while they were campaigning, and you will now often miss seeing because you are working.

To my colleagues

We have all just sworn a really important oath, and put our signatures to that oath – to work ‘faithfully and impartially’, using the ‘best of each of our skill and judgement’ – ‘in the best interests of Wellington City.’

All those words mean putting the City first.

All of us bring our beliefs and values. Let’s do that mahi with humility.

We need to remember that only 40% of Wellingtonians chose to vote. One of our tasks must be to positively inspire more Wellingtonians to see what we all do as important, and to engage with us over the next three years. It’s no good to say in three years time we want more people to vote, we need to do that every day during that three years.

All of us have been elected by only a proportion of those who voted.

Our task however is to represent and look after everyone in this city.

We are elected representatives – to represent, to advocate, to work for – and at times I hope – to inspire.

We have 216,000 bosses.

We have been given a great privilege. We are here because our fellow citizens entrusted us to work for them.

When we do our jobs well, our city will be the better for it.

The message for me from the election campaign it that people want us to get things done, and to focus on the things that matter to them.

We live in a changing world, and we must change and innovate.

An illustration of the change we have made in the past is the wonderful place that is Zealandia, just up the road

As you enter the Visitor Centre at Zealandia you see the words

‘The future can no longer be – what is going to happen – it is what are we going to do.’

The future is not yet written, It is up to us to help write that future.

At times that will take courage.

We have major challenges in accommodating a growing population and doing that in a way that protects the things we love about our city

We have major challenges and opportunities in transport

We declared a climate and ecological emergency earlier this year. We have to put an action plan behind the climate change response, while continuing our city’s remarkable ecological restoration journey.

Our arts sector has been asking us for a new strategy and for an action programme that flows from that to polish our arts and culture crown

Wellington is a city of many communities.

We must work with all our communities, help to strengthen them, help people with disadvantage, help the Council to be their Council. Not just the Council, but their Council.

And in this Civic Square Te Ngakau the heart of our city we have an opportunity and a real challenge to make it better than it ever was before.

We must do all of these things while ensuring our city remains affordable.

It will be an exciting, challenging journey.

We won’t always agree on everything. Sometimes the road will be smooth, sometimes it will be more bumpy.

We will at times need to break some eggs to make omelettes.

We all come with our aspirations, dreams and desires.

I have spoken with all of you, several times in most cases, to try to understand your aspirations, and to try to reflect them in the appointments I am making and will make in coming days.

Balancing that has not been straightforward. It never will be, but thank you for the give and take.

I want to help you all to make a positive difference to our city.

I want to help you enjoy being part of the Council whanau.

Sometimes people will see the difference you personally have made, many times they will not, but you will know the difference that you have made.

We have 1074 days until the next election. They will pass all too quickly.

Let’s use them wisely, let’s use them well, let’s use them to make a positive difference to our city and for the people who have entrusted us with the responsibilities we have been given.

I want to end with a quote which might help us whether we are thinking about what we do in a day or in 1074 days.

Attributed to Stephen Grellet, who escaped the French Revolution and fled to the United States  – I found it etched into the railing of Mount Arthur Hut in Kahurangi National Park

“I expect to come this way but once.

Any goodness therefore that I do,

Or any kindness that I can show to my fellow creatures,

Let me do it now.

Let me not defer or neglect it,

For I may not pass this way again”


Thank you again all of you for honouring us with your presence.

Enjoy the evening with your friends and your family.

Then let’s get down to work.