A councillor since the age of 21 and now Mayor of Rotorua in her third term at age 29. It’s a personal success story fronting up to one of the most difficult jobs in New Zealand today – Mayor of what used to be the tourist town of ‘RotoVegas’ a city decimated by Jacinda Ardern’s pandemic insanity.
Auckland, our supercity, has its issues too, but I wouldn’t make Tania Tapsell the new Mayor of Auckland or Wayne Brown the new Mayor of Rotorua.
That’s New Zealand, a country of great diversity in many respects, regionally and locally as well, and that requires purposeful talent to suit each circumstance.
That aside, Tapsell’s success is a strange irony for those that remember her grandfather, Labour Speaker Sir Peter Tapsell.
If this election has been a slap down for the Red Queen, with voters sending many left wing incumbents packing, Tapsell has been equal to the occasion in delivering a king hit to Mahuta, and the Māori Caucus.
To the Minister for Local Government Nanaia Mahuta, as Tapsell oppossed 3 Waters as a councillor. She may however, support whatever National’s alternative is, and that’s still an unknown, whereas many would rather see a compete return to the independence of Local Body management.
To the Maori Caucus in their pursuit of co-governance. The myth is that the Maori Caucus represent 16 – 17 % of those identifying as Maori.
They don’t. That Elite group represent more like 4% of Māoridom, much to the annoyance of the other 12 – 13 % who regard themselves as New Zealanders with Maori ancestry.
That group exist throughout NZ and have a tough time having their political position recognised.
In that respect a significant load rests of Tapsell’s young shoulders and she isn’t going to get an easy ride through the next 3 years trying to rebuild a city when the country is not yet through its economic recovery and struggling to rebuild its tourism.
It’s grand opportunity though, and if Tapsell seizes the day and the success, she’s a hero in the making.