Regional | Mayor

'Blessed': Rotorua's Tania Tapsell to be first known NZ mayor to give birth while holding office

Tania Tapsell and Kanin Clancy pictured in 2020 when announcing their engagement. Photo / Supplied

By Zizi Sparks, Rotorua Daily Post

Trail-blazing Rotorua mayor Tania Tapsell is set to make history again - this time by being the first known New Zealand mayor to give birth while holding office.

Tapsell last year became the first Māori woman elected to the role.

She made history nine years earlier when she was first elected to the council in 2013 at age 21. At that time, she was the youngest elected councillor in New Zealand.

In June, she is set to become what is believed to be the first mayor to give birth while in office.

Tapsell announced Friday that she and her husband, Kanin Clancy, are expecting a baby girl in June.

“As well as delivering for Rotorua as mayor, in three months from now I’ll be delivering something very special for my husband and I - a baby girl,” Tapsell said.

“I feel like I’ve been blessed twice to be taking up the roles of both mayor and mother.

“We’re so excited to be expanding our family and are grateful for the support of my council team. Rotorua has given me so much, and I can’t wait to raise our child in this great place we call home.”

Tapsell plans to take a one-month break after the birth.

“Then my supportive husband Kanin will take over from there to allow me to resume my important duties as mayor,” she said.

Rotorua mayor Tania Tapsell and husband Kanin Clancy. Photo / Supplied

Deputy mayor Sandra Kai Fong would be acting mayor during Tapsell’s maternity leave.

“Our new council has made great progress for our district already, and I look forward to continuing to build on the positive momentum while enjoying my new role as a mum,” Tapsell said in a statement provided to the Rotorua Daily Post.

Tapsell said it was humbling to have made history in her career.

“It’s incredibly humbling to look back on the support I’ve received since I walked through these doors as a 21-year-old councillor. I’m only here because the people of Rotorua have backed me and that’s why I’m so focused on working hard to deliver for Rotorua. I’m really proud that our community and our country have supported diversity in leadership.”

Tapsell’s story aligns with that of former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who gave birth to her daughter Neve in 2018 while holding office.

“I acknowledge that I join a team of many mums who have balanced the demands of work and motherhood, I look forward to taking on all of their hot tips and advice too,” Tapsell said in response.

Clancy said he looked forward to being a stay-at-home dad and helping Tapsell return to her mayoral duties.

“She’s such an incredible woman and I’ve always admired her dedication to her many roles and responsibilities. I know she’ll also be an awesome mother.”

Kai Fong congratulated Tapsell and Clancy on their impending arrival.

“I know Tania will be a fantastic mum and I’ll be there to fully support her so she can enjoy some precious time with her new baby before returning to the demanding job of being the mayor.”