End of an era for Masterton as Lyn Patterson steps down as district's mayor

3:37 pm on 29 September 2022
Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson at the Kaituna Water Treatment Plant. Photo: Wairarapa Times Age via LDR

After 15 years of serving the Masterton District, Mayor Lyn Patterson is farewelling her role as an elected member.

Patterson was first elected to the council in 2007 and won the mayoralty in 2013.

In her final address to the council this month, Patterson said leadership was about "sometimes having to make some hard decisions that are not always the most popular ones".

"Popularity was never a motivator to me," she said.

"What motivates me are the values I hold and the vision and aspirations I have for all people across our wonderful district."

She said the council's vision was to offer the best of rural provincial living.

"We want the best for everyone in our community, especially our tamariki and mokopuna.

"We want them to be proud of who they are and where they come from. That is what has driven me."

Patterson said over her years of service, she had made a point of hearing "all voices, not necessarily the loudest ones" or the "constant cry from publicity-seeking parts of our community".

"That is why being out and about and attending as many events, functions, activities in our community, and being accessible was so important to me.

"You cannot perform the legislative purpose of local government - to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural wellbeing of communities in the present and for the future - if you do not listen and hear the voices of all our people.

"I took that legislative responsibility very seriously."

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson just prior to being elected as a councillor in 2007.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson just prior to being elected as a councillor in 2007. Photo: Wairarapa Times Age / Lynda Feringa via LDR

Patterson was proud of the many accomplishments and milestones achieved by the council during her years of service, including the Queen Elizabeth Park rejuvenation, the new skate park, continued infrastructure renewals, supporting the rebuild of the Riversdale surf club, and developing the Homebush wastewater strategy.

"The appointment in 2016 of iwi reps to council committees and to sit at the council table is one of my proudest moments as mayor," she said.

"I sincerely thank previous councillors who had the courage against public opposition to support me and the staff in getting this across the line.

"I look back over my nine years [as mayor] with pride in what has been achieved."

The 2021-31 Long-Term Plan, which was adopted by council last year, was a plan for the district to "step up" and invest in the future "for our mokopuna", she said.

The three decisions in the plan were about funding for the new civic facility, more housing for seniors, and the Masterton revamp.

She was "saddened" that the building of a "much-needed civic facility at an appropriate site" was not progressed this term.

Though stoic in her final address, when it came time for Patterson to give thanks to council staff, fellow elected members, and her family, she fought to hold back tears.

"I give my thanks and love to my family," she said, before naming each of her family members.

"Thank you for being there and for your unwavering support."

After delivering her final address, Patterson was met with a standing ovation from staff and councillors.

Voting is open for residents and ratepayers to elect their new mayor.

There are six candidates seeking election: Craig Bowyer, Gary Caffell, Hakepa, Jo Hayes, William Izard, and Tina Nixon.

Patterson gave her blessing, in the form of a nomination, to Brent Gare, who is an 'At Large' candidate for Masterton District Council.

Voting closes on 8 October.

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