The first wahine Māori to chair a regional council in New Zealand has suddenly resigned.
Tui Shortland has quit the Northland Regional Council (NRC) chairperson role, stating her resignation would be effective from NRC's 28 November council meeting.
No reasons for the shock departure have been given.
The role pays $133,892 a year.
Shortland (Ngāti Hine, Ngātiwai, Te Rarawa) was selected by her fellow politicians to the top job soon after October 2022's local government elections.
Regional council chairs are selected differently from district council Mayors who stand for that position and are elected directly to that role by the public. In contrast, regional council chairs are chosen from successfully-elected councillors.
Shortland was a first-time councillor when she became chair, after being elected to NRC from its first-time, region-wide Māori constituency Te Raki Māori Constituency.
She helmed a nine-person NRC council (including her role) and organisation with 285 staff, a $76.9m operational budget and $14.963 million capital spend with rates on 100,000 rateable properties across almost 14,000 square kilometres.
Shortland was nominated for the top job by Councillors Rick Stolwerk and Peter-Lucas Jones.
At the time of her selection at the inaugural meeting of the new 2022-2025 council in October 2022, Shortland expressed excitement.
Shortland lives at Te Haumi in the Bay of Islands.
At her selection, fellow constituency representative Peter-Lucas Jones said Shortland, importantly, had been supported in her development towards her new NRC leadership role by kaumatua and kuia and the marae of Te Tai Tokerau.
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air