Nelson City Council's new members introduce themselves

15/11/2022 2:51am
Top row, from left: Councillors Campbell Rollo, Kahu Paki Paki, Matthew Benge. Bottom row, from left: Councillors Matty Anderson, Aaron Stallard, James Hodgson
Top row, from left: Councillors Campbell Rollo, Kahu Paki Paki, Matthew Benge. Bottom row, from left: Councillors Matty Anderson, Aaron Stallard, James Hodgson

There are many new faces around Whakatū Nelson’s Council table, which had its inaugural meeting on Friday 28 October. Here, are exerpts from the inauguration speeches made by our six new councillors:

Councillor Matty Anderson 

Kia ora. My speech was, "Thank you." Yeah, pretty short. 

My culture, my friends and my family are important to me. I could have used more words to explain that, but words are wind and often easily forgotten. I started by performing the RNZN (Royal New Zealand Navy) Haka, assisted by an old shipmate. My youngest son Rocco then led my beautiful non-nuclear family in singing ‘Sipaio’. A Niuean song of joy composed by my late grandfather. I carried his walking stick that day. My eldest son Ludo then led a Niuean war dance, ‘Si Kai Tangata’. I also had a necklace placed on me which is customary. My mama could not make it to the ceremony, so I used a substitute Kuia whom I hold dear.  

I haven’t been a haka guy for over a decade. Performing in front of strangers at such a significant occasion was very uncomfortable. But it was also the right thing to do. In all I do a carry my friends, family, and culture with me. I think those present know that now. And I don’t think they will forget.  

Ngā mihi mahana. 

Councillor Matthew Benge

Tena koutu katoa – hello everyone.

Thank you to the people of the Stoke Tahunanui Ward for the faith you have shown in me to represent you at the Council table. I will do my best.

To Mayor Nick and my fellow Councillors I look forward to working with you all to help guide our Waka – the good ship Nelson – through the next 3 years. We will all have one hand on te ngaki or tiller. I have never served on Council before but have spent a lot of time at sea and know that the steadier the hand the further you will go. We all come from different backgrounds and points of view, but this is a strength, and we can disagree, dissent, oppose etc but we must also listen and then come to a consensus. I want by the end of this term to be proud to have had my hand on the tiller with all of you and vice versa. I believe we can do that.

To the Council Staff, the ones that do the work, the ones that make our city tick, the ones that make it what it is. I have questions. I want to learn. Teach me.

Councillor James Hodgson

Tēnā koutou katoa.

I want to begin by acknowledging my sense of hope, when I consider my twelve elected colleagues chosen by Nelson to represent them over the coming three years. I have confidence in our ability to demonstrate collaborative focus for our community.

My position on Council is a continuation of my career in social work, and I continue to seek improvement in critical issues such as housing, mental health and strengthening our community sector. Yet the wellbeing of our community hinges on the effective provision of all aspects of Council operations, from dependable infrastructure to accessible transport, through to kind and open communication with the public.

I enter this role with the acknowledgement of my own blind spots, and with an invitation for further conversation. My sincere hope is that our community would find me approachable and receptive and would guide me to see clearly your aspirations for Nelson.

One thing that is abundantly clear to me is that I only stand here today because of my wife, Ruby, who stands beside me. She is the perfect combination of ambitious and selfless, taking on study, family life, as well as choosing to support me. I want to end by acknowledging her.

Ngā mihi nui.

Councillor Kahu Paki Paki 

Tēnā koutou, hello everyone! I’m Kahu. A descendant of our region’s heritage and a proud product of our community.  

I wish to acknowledge those in recent memory who paved the way for our voices to be heard and are no longer with us. Haere, haere, haere. 

Without doubt this role is of huge significance to the Māori community that extends beyond the limits of the Nelson Māori Ward. 

It is critical to remind ourselves that this opportunity is about governance, not politics. Iwi Māori have long deserved inclusion in local governance and this seat is simply that: a chance for us to sit at the table and be represented. I have no doubt our whole community will be better for it. 

I want this city to be the one my children inherit. He tino nui te wero, ka nui te mahi! The challenge is great, but the work is important. 

My mission during my tenure is to prove that there is an irreplaceable value in securing the future for our community and demonstrate that we deserve this seat at the table of governance. We all belong here. 

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa. 

Councillor Campbell Rollo

I write this message as a newly elected member of the Nelson City Council to share my excitement for the new role. A proud third-generation Nelsonian, I am a proud to call Nelson home and it is the reason why I stood for Council.

We must continue to thrive as a region and look at what’s around us to carry on building the foundation for future generations. My commitment for the next three years is to work hard for Nelson and bring an approach to Council that is fresh, puts the community first and is truly accessible for all.

My background is one that is often the theme for young people. Leaving school and unsure what path to take, I was a far hill from the council offices. In fact, it wasn’t until I hit 18 that I realised how important local government is for our regions. I am truly excited to be a part of a Council team that’s committed to doing the very best for our region. I look forward to getting to work and being active in the community as we approach the summer.

“He waka eke noa”: We are all in this waka together.   

Councillor Aaron Stallard 

Tēnā koutou katoa 

I would like to acknowledge the people of Nelson Whakatū for electing me to Council. It’s an honour and a privilege. 

I grew up in a state house in the Brook Valley, in a solo-mother household with my two sisters. I studied geology at university and did a PhD working in the Appalachian Mountains in North America. In 2006 I established a business that helps researchers in Asia and elsewhere publish their work. As a geologist at the Council table I would like to see a greater understanding of our dependence on the health of ecosystems, wildlife, and nature, of which we are a part and in which our systems are deeply embedded. 

It is our shared responsibility, and I would hope a priority of this Council, to shape human activity in the region so it occurs within safe environmental limits, which means housing intensification, a rapid shift to active and public transport, renewable energy, systems that are resilient to shock, people-friendly urban spaces, wholesome local food in season, and a just, cohesive and politically engaged community. In this way, it is my hope that current and future generations will enjoy a rich and meaningful life. 

Learn more about all of Nelson’s elected members and how to contact them at: