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Mayor and Councillor candidate profiles

Full list of candidates (alphabetical order)

Scroll down to see who is standing for Mayor and as a Councillor for each ward (Matamata, Morrinsville, Te Aroha and Te Toa Horopū ā Matamata-Piako). Click on a picture to go straight to their candidate statement.
















































One vacancy (three candidates)

Stu Husband

For the last 9 years I have represented the people of Matamata-Piako on the Waikato Regional Council. This year I am standing for Mayor. I am concerned and against the speed and lack of local voice the government is imposing on local democracy. Waikato DHB and WINTEC are both gone with control shifting to Wellington. Next on the list is 3 Waters. The RMA is being reviewed where planning may transfer to a new mega entity. Reorganization of Local Government is planned when we may again see amalgamations. Co-governance is talked about, but no detail provided. If Matamata Piako District Council is to continue with local elected councillors we need to be ready to challenge further reform. I am a local, having lived in Te Aroha for 8 years and now at Tauhei. I know Local Government well and I now seek your support for Mayor. Stu Husband 0272 330003

Russell Smith

I live in the Matamata-Piako district. I have lived in Te Aroha for 27 years I am married to Jean, a father and grandfather. I have just completed 3 years as a councillor, and I am ready to take the next step and lead the district and to lead a team of elected Councillors. I am in my 20th year as an employee at Fonterra and will resign from this role if you elect me as your mayor. I served 15 years in the NZ army; I am a life member of the Te Aroha RSA. I’m a communicator a leader and a listener. Let’s keep moving forward within the Matamata Piako District, as your mayor, I will keep the momentum moving in the right direction that we have become accustomed to. Let’s progress with what we can control, and challenge what we can’t. Let me be your voice, Your mayor.

Adrienne Wilcock

My principal place of residence is in the Matamata-Piako District Council area. With my husband Warwick, we’ve raised our family and been dairy farming in Walton for close to 40 years. Serving six years on council and having built a sound understanding of all facets of council business, I have been encouraged to stand for Mayor. My roles this term include chairing the District Licencing Committee and the Solid Waste Working Group and sitting on the Audit and Risk Committee. Hard working and pragmatic, I have developed a strong sense of community through involvement with numerous voluntary organisations. I’ve completed governance training and have additional governance experience as chair of the Agrecovery Foundation. Being future focused, I acknowledge there are challenges ahead, however, there are also exciting opportunities for our district's benefit. These experiences provide a solid platform for me to lead our district with a social heart and fiscal accountability focusing through a long-term lens. I respectfully seek your support.

Matamata Ward

Four vacancies (six candidates)

Caleb Ansell

I love living in Matamata. It’s an amazing town to live in. We have unparalleled beauty; vast swathes of talented individuals and we are punching well above our weight across the country. I believe that we need to keep this positive momentum going as we grow as a district. We aren’t just Middle Earth, we are so much more. I believe that to keep going forward we need to make the council more efficient and improve our infrastructure to a higher standard. This can be done by cutting the fat out of the meat of the council and being wiser with our income. All of this can be done with a council that has the drive to serve its residents first, making sure we have all we need to move our great district forward. We can move forward, together.

Bruce Dewhurst

Stephen Cope

Tēnā koutou katoa, ko Ingarangi te whakapaparanga mai, engari, ko Matamata te kāinga inaianei. Nō Tāmakimakaurau ahau. Ko Stephen Cope au. Hello, my name is Stephen Cope. I live in Matamata. I was born in Tāmaki Makaurau. I moved to Matamata after working in education in Auckland and in the finance sector overseas. You may know me from my volunteering, including tutoring Code Club at Matamata District Library and as Cub Leader at Matamata Scouts. My aim is to keep Matamata-Piako beautiful and our rivers swimmable with the continued removal of introduced predators and pest plants. I support cycling trails, public transport, and increasing opportunities for youth.

James Sainsbury

Matamata has been my family’s home for over 70 years and, as my wife and I raise our children here, it will be our home for many years to come. It has been a privilege to serve as a District Councillor for the past six years as I have been able to advocate for our future, including the development of the Digital Strategy, update of the Waste Minimisation Plan and securing a Matamata Destination Playground budget. I am now seeking the opportunity to serve another term. There are exciting times ahead as we build a vibrant district! To keep up the momentum I will be a steady hand as we tackle challenges and an effective advocate to have public spaces looking great, communities well connected and efficient council services. I will do what I can for Matamata to be a great place to live, because it is my home too!

Kevin Tappin

My principle place of residence is in the Matamata Ward. The Matamata community deserves to be thriving, vibrant and alive, with residents living, working, using and playing in well maintained, fit for purpose, modern, safe facilities, with robust 3 waters infrastructure that remains in our control, enabling long term planning for our town growth. After examining the facts, considering long-term impacts and analysing any impact on rates, I will use my six years experience as an MPDC Councillor to debate and vote responsibly on decisions affecting our community. I will continue to vote for consultation on significant issues; listen to your opinions; advocate on your behalf and keep you fully informed. I am the Immediate Past President of Matamata Lions and Matamata Grey Power and current Vice President of the Matamata RSA. I hold tertiary qualifications in business management, finance, quality assurance, civil defence emergency management and am a qualified RMA hearings commissioner. Contact details: Mobile: (027)271-9007 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sue Whiting

For the 25 years I have made Matamata my home, I have dedicated 22 years in my previous role managing the Matamata Public Relations Association and i-SITE Visitor Centre, and in the last three years, as an elected member. I have been involved in helping our locals embrace their hometown, focusing on our community facilities, reserves, safe walking and biking tracks and CBD. My qualifications, Dip Business, and governance experience (I-SITE Network Board) have been extremely beneficial and will serve me well as Council faces challenging times ahead, such as the Local Government Review, Three Waters Reform, Resource Management Act Reform, along with numerous legislative changes. Council will require experience, courage and strong decision-making skills and I believe I have the vision needed to help take our district in the right direction. With your vote, I will listen to ensure we continue to prosper and grow and keep us strong. Sue Whiting 0274 388763.

Adrienne Wilcock

My principal place of residence is in the Matamata Ward area. Alongside my husband Warwick, we’ve spent close to 40 years dairy farming in Walton whilst raising our family and actively “giving back” to our community. I have a strong sense of community through long term active involvement in voluntary organisations encompassing health, sport and education.Trained in governance, I also have additional governance experience as the chair of the Agrecovery Foundation. A current councillor, my roles this term included chairing both the District Licencing Committee and the Solid Waste Working Group and sitting on the Audit and Risk Committee. I am also a qualified hearings commissioner. Hardworking and pragmatic, I bring a social heart coupled with fiscal accountability to the table. It has been a privilege to serve the community for the past six years and have been encouraged to run for mayor. If unsuccessful, I would like to remain representing you as a councillor. I respectfully seek your support.

Morrinsville Ward

Four vacancies (eight candidates)

Mac Aitchison

Mac Aitchison (Independent)

Morrinsville has been my family’s town choice for as long as I remember and currently, I live just kilometres from the Morrinsville township. I am a business owner, qualified Dairy Farmer, qualified Furniture maker and father. If I get time I love family time, sports, engineering and watching movies I’ve decided to put my hand up as I feel I have the tools to help make a difference in the future of our district.

Sharon Dean

I am hardworking, organised and motivated with an outgoing and friendly personality. I am very involved in our local communities and love meeting new people. Currently I am involved in media and sports photography and this allows me to communicate effectively within my role and have a good listening ear. I pride myself in my English and communication skills, and I believe time management skills are essential in any role. Ambitious and driven, I love a challenge and seeing projects to fruition. My principle place of residence is in Morrinsville, Matamata-Piako.

Bruce Dewhurst

Bruce Dewhurst

I have lived in the Morrinsville District since 1957. My working life began in the Post Office and I was Company Property Manager for Telecom prior to joining my brother in 1994 to grow hydroponic lettuce. I have been a member of Rotary for over 30 years and I’m currently Vice President of both the Historical Society and the Senior Citizens Association Management Committee.I am now retired which has given me time to represent the Morrinsville Ward on Council for the last three years. The Government decision to implement the 3 Waters Reform and change democracy as we know it has been difficult for Council this Term and they now plan to introduce other legislation including a reform of Local Government and the Resource Management Act. I believe I have the proven business skills and a clear understanding of Local Government to represent the needs of the Morrinsville community.

Ian Hauraki

Hi, My name is Ian Stuart Hauraki and together with my partner Paula and children, our principal place of residence is in the Morrinsville ward I am currently work for Fonterra full time in the Utilities space. Previous employment included stints in Pulp and Paper (Kinlieth), Oil and Gas (Taranaki), Fertilizer (Mount Maunganui) and Meat Product processing (Waitoa) I believe it is important that council provides a good foundation for economic growth, environmental, social, sporting and cultural developments. Being new to this role my primary responsibility will be to learn as much as possible about the council process as being effective relies on good process understanding. I would bring common sense and practical approach to community issues. My primary concern at this time is cost control. With a cost of living problem it's important that we minimise spend proactively with our rate payers in mind.

Dayne Horne

My name is Dayne Horne and I have enjoyed living in Morrinsville pretty much all my life, I am now raising my own young family in the area which has led me to ask what I could give back to the community, an interest in understanding council and how it works has led me to apply for a position as a councillor representing the Morrinsville area. My family have been business owners in the Morrinsville region going back to the 1950’s first in engineering and more recently boat building. I believe my experience operating a business in a highly competitive industry along with managing multiple staff, while marketing to and dealing with customers on a day to day basis, gives me a broad knowledge base of emerging technologies, problem solving and the types of compromise it takes sometimes to get the job done.

Zarsha Osborne

I grew up in Parakai, on the family dairy farm. Moved to the Waikato & jointly won the East Waikato DTOTY award in 2007 and in 2009 I won the Waikato FMOTY award and 2nd overall in NZ. My partner Mike and I started our family in 2014, we exited farming to start our firewood business BLAZE FIREWOOD CO. We redeveloped selling firewood in New Zealand to an online retail business servicing over 5000 families. My ties to Morrinsville is through my partner and family which led to us purchasing our own piece of paradise in Morrinsville 3 years ago where we live currently with our two beautiful daughters. With my rural background and current customer service business I offer a varied perspective, high commitment, honest family values, and skilled approach that loves listening to and helping others. I love seeing achievements through goal setting, dedication and hard work.

Cameron Sawyer

Kia Ora everybody, my name is Cameron Sawyer, I am a resident of Morrinsville, I will be standing for the Matamata-Piako District Council running as a Morrinsville Ward Councillor. I am energetic and excited to bring a dose of youthful energy to Council, to give a voice to those who have not traditionally been heard. I shall bring a brand new perspective on ideas both old and new. I look forward to representing the growing Morrinsville community with pride and serving it with the peoples’ best interests at heart, right here in the cream of the country.

James Thomas

James Thomas for Morrinsville ward Morrinsville is my home town and I am very passionate about our town and our district. I have been very privileged to have served as a councillor for the last 9 years and wish to do so again for this next term. Local Government is in a changing space and we will need some experience throughout this time. I am a farm consultant and farmer so understand both rural and urban issues and live on the farm at Kereone with my wife Jane, a schoolteacher at Morrinsville College. My son and daughter in law (and our grandson) are all Morrinsville residents also. It has been exciting to see the growth we are experiencing as a district and I am especially interested in the development of the Morrinsville recreation ground. We need to balance this growth with affordable rates and I will focus on getting this balance right.

Te Aroha Ward

Three vacancies (six candidates)


Sarah Jane-Bourne

I have lived in the Te Aroha area for 4 years and have strong connections to this area with previous generations proudly growing up here. We are facing some of the biggest challenges and changes with Three Waters, cogovernance, RMA and other legislation reforms on the horizon. It is more important now than ever before that we have a strong team representing Te Aroha on Council. While we tackle these issues it is also important we continue to develop and grow the community, ensuring we have a community we can proudly pass on to future generations. It is imperative these developments are not only cost efficient but with the ratepayers and communities needs and views in mind. With qualifications in business and finance, a law degree I am currently completing and management experience; I believe I am the best person to represent our community and be your voice Te Aroha.

Bruce Donaldson (Independent)

I arrived in Te Aroha in February 2017 in search of a childhood sweetheart and yes, the search was successful. I’ve grown to love this town its surrounds and its people. Having developed absolute confidence in the future of this unique New Zealand gem, Alexandra Rd is now my primary residence. My background in Agriculture, Horticulture, Manufacturing and Marketing. I graduated with an Agri science degree in 1974 and a Doctorate in 2013. I subsequently developed Kiwi Crush, Phloe and most recently of Kiwisooth. I have five children, (one severely disabled), thirteen grandchildren, two dogs and a cat. Te Aroha is the jewel in the crown of the Matamata-Piako District. Supportive development of the town’s spa facilities and great walks will enhance this area’s growing reputation as an outstanding Centre of Wellness and Wellbeing. I hope you will support my candidacy.

Peter Jager

I have lived in Te Aroha since 1990, am married to Diana and have four adult children, all lucky to have grown up in Te Aroha. I am currently a Deputy Principal at Te Aroha College, where Diana also teaches. Past community involvement included the Events Centre project and currently, am a member of the Lions Club. I was privileged to be a Te Aroha Ward Councillor from 2007 to 2019 so bring experience with my nomination. I am positive about the future direction of Te Aroha and our wider district. I question issues, give matters much thought before decision making, and support ideas that enhance our district and improve lives of people residing in Matamata Piako. Current important issues include three waters, the spa development and reviewing the increasing costs of rates. I am seeking your support for another term on Council.

Russell Smith

My principal place of residence is in Te Aroha ward area. I have lived in Te Aroha for 27 years I am married to Jean. I have just completed 3 years as a councillor for the Te Aroha ward. A ward I am very passionate about, a ward I am very proud to be your councillor, your voice. I am in my 20th year as an employee at Fonterra. I served 15 years in the NZ Army; I am a life member of the Te Aroha RSA. I'm a communicator, a leader and listener. I stood in 2019 for Transparency, honesty, and Action and I still stand by those attributes. Te Aroha let's keep moving forward, let's keep the momentum moving. Let's progress with what we can control and challenge what we can't. I am standing for both Mayor and Councillor. So, to ensure we have continuity in Te Aroha two Ticks for Russell Smith, let me be your voice.

Brett Smyth

Hello. This statement is to confirm that I am a resident of Te Aroha My name is BRETT SMYTH and I'm standing for a councillor position, representing the Te Aroha Ward at the upcoming Local Body elections. It's time for a fresh face who has a positive vision for Te Aroha and surrounding districts. Apart from my total support for all things associated with the Te Aroha Ward there are a number of issues that need to be raised. Co-governance_ What can Council do to make this situation work better and eliminate the level of uncertainty about it's implementation at a local level? Mandatory installation of water meters for all swimming pools, both new and existing, paid by occupier via rated cost. Final costings for the Spa complex are urgently required. With commercial land being available, Council must make that area ready for development as a priority Council to purchase additional land for development of low cost housing.


Jill Taylor (Independent)

Kia ora koutou, my name is Jill Taylor and I am passionate about Te Aroha, and our District. I live in Te Aroha with my husband, and the youngest of our 4 children. Our District has much untapped potential, I want to help create a thriving and vibrant community. I am focussed on developing economic opportunities, managing and developing our community resources to be fit for purpose. With so many historic and natural attractions, I believe developing tourism in the District would benefit the whole community. I am actively involved in and support many community groups and local businesses. Local government has many challenges ahead, I have the community, business and vast governance experience to help navigate through these. With a solutions focused approach and a can-do attitude, I get things done and will bring this approach as Councillor if elected.

Te Toa Horopū ā Matamata-Piako Ward

One vacancy (one candidate). Please note there is no election required for Te Toa Horopū ā Matamata-Piako (Māori ward) as the number of candidates standing for this election was not more than the number of vacancies. This means that Gary Thompson is elected unopposed.

Gary Thompson

Ko Gary Thompson ahau. I am excited at the opportunity to serve as Te Toa Horopu o Matamata a Piako. I am a resident of the Matamata Piako District. For the first time since the establishment of Borough Councils the 1920’s, Maaori will be represented in Council in our rohe. As a member of the Manawhenua Forum I have witnessed a positive change in the relationship between Council and Iwi. As your member of Council, I will continue the drive to entrench the kaupapa Maaori lens that created that change. Never before has the Maori voice, the kaupapa Maori lens or maatauranga Maori been present at every meeting of Council. These are the proven skills and experiences that I will bring to Council. I will make myself available to hapuu iwi and Maaori communities wherever they meet. To hear the dreams and aspiration of Maaori, a kanohi, and I will work hard to amplify that voice. Vote Gary Thompson.