Candidates guide

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Your District needs you!

Are you thinking of standing in this year’s local elections?
You can make a difference.

It’s an exciting time to be part of local government. Your community needs people to stand up for it. Are you willing to do your bit?

How is Council made up?

Southland District has a mayor and 12 ward councillors elected from five wards:

  • Mararoa Waimea (3 councillors)
  • Waiau Aparima (3 councillors)
  • Oreti (3 councillors)
  • Waihopai Toetoe (2 councillors)
  • Stewart Island/Rakiura (1 councillor)

map of the Southland District wards

A ward is a defined area of the District that has been divided for electoral purposes. The ward system allows for the recognition of communities, and increased community involvement in local government.

There are also nine community boards. Council actively promotes local input into decision-making through its nine community boards. Community board members have a strong relationship with people and organisations in their communities, attend events and act as a local liaison between their community and Council. The nine community boards are:

In the Mararoa Waimea ward:

  • Fiordland
  • Northern (3 subdivisions: Parawa-Fairlight, West Dome, Mid Dome)
  • Ardlussa

In the Waiau Aparima ward:

  • Tuatapere Te Waewae
  • Oraka Aparima
  • Wallace Takitimu

In the Oreti ward:

  • Oreti (3 subdivisions: Hokonui, Midlands, Makarewa)

In the Waihopai Toetoe ward:

  • Waihopai Toetoe

In the Stewart Island/Rakiura ward:

  • Stewart Island/Rakiura

map of the Southland District community boards

You can run for mayor and/or Council, and/or a community board.

You cannot run for more than one ward.

To be nominated for Southland District Council you don’t need to live in the ward for which you’re standing, but your nominators must live in that ward. Their address on the nomination form must be the same address that appears on the electoral roll.

It is a good time for them to check that their current address is listed on the electoral roll, especially if they have moved some time in the past three years.

Nominations open on 19 July 2019 and close at midday on 16 August 2019.

The nomination forms are available on our Elections Nomination Forms page. We encourage you to get your nomination in early. If you leave it too late there may not be enough time to correct any mistakes and you could be prevented from standing.

“I think I’m keen …”

Get an idea of what being a councillor or a community board member might be like and the types of things you would need to think about by checking out the resources below. 

Read Council, committee and board minutes and agendas  (external link)

Check out our Long Term, Plan 2018-2028 ‘We’re just getting started, Southland'

Read the latest Annual Report [PDF, 9.7 MB]– how we did over the past year 

Look at our Local Governance Statement – a great overview of everything related to Council 

Attend any Council meetings that you can – what is it like to talk about any issues, debate and make decisions for the community?

Read about how community boards will be instrumental in shaping your community's future.  [PDF, 3.9 MB]

What’s the time commitment?

Southland District Council has meetings approximately every three weeks, and sometimes you will have meeting or workshop commitments for a couple of days in a row.

Community boards have about 10 meetings a year, and as a board member, you’ll be invited to about four workshops a year at Council’s head office in Invercargill. It’s up to each individual member how much involvement you have in your community.

What does an elected member look like?


We need different faces around our Council table and community boards, to reflect the different genders, ethnicity, age, skills and ideas of the people who make up Southland District.

Diversity of representation reflects the diversity of our District. People in Southland District want councillors who represent the wide variety of groups that make up our communities and who are concerned about what matters to them.

You don’t need to know everything before you stand! But you should ask yourself …

What are you standing for?

What do you want to achieve?

Do you think openly and respectfully about people who are different from you and your circle of friends.

Are you open and sincere?

What are your must-dos?

What will you do if you can’t achieve them?

How do you deal with conflict?

Are you receptive to and tolerant of views that are different from your own?

What does success look like to you?

Along with your nomination form and a fee of $200, you are invited to provide a recent passport-size colour photo of yourself and a 150-word statement about yourself, your qualifications or skills and why you want to stand for Council.

If you choose to do this it must be provided at the same time as your nomination form. Completed nomination forms can be delivered before 12 noon on 16 August 2019 to any Southland District Council office or posted to the electoral officer.

Full details are available in the 2019 Candidate Information Handbook [PDF, 3 MB].

You get your $200 fee back if: you are elected to Council, or you receive more than 25% of the number of votes of the lowest-polling successful candidate.

If you have further questions please get in touch.

  • Southland District Council electoral officer Dale Ofsoske (09) 973 5212
  • Southland District Council deputy electoral officer Clare Sullivan 0800 732 732