Gisborne's mayor of 18 years, Meng Foon, will retire from local politics at the end of his term this year. He announced his retirement two weeks ago, after nearly two decades in the position. He was first elected as a councillor for the district in 1995, before being elected mayor in 2001. Meng is fluent in te reo Māori, Cantonese and English. As of last year, he was the only New Zealand mayor fluent in te reo.
Meng has several interests outside of his mayoralty. He has released a musical number, Tu Mai, which includes various native tracks, he has been chair of Gisborne/Tarawhiti Rugby League since 2007, and is a board member of the New Zealand Rugby League board.