Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell was noticeably absent from today's council meeting, after texts and emails released under the Official Information Act show he considered resigning from the top job in June but decided to "box on".
In the texts, Mr Powell revealed he was receiving "vicious and threatening" messages from the public.
He says his family "didn't sign up for this", and wrote of constant heart pain which was worrying him.
The communications reveal personal abuse and petty accusations by some Tauranga city councillors over the appointment of a new deputy mayor.
In one, councillor Andrew Hollis referred to a colleague as "a flake" and emailed the person, saying they are "the obvious weak link".
"You have shown your self to be spineless (sic)," he wrote.
"For someone who allegedly believes in a soul …well you get to answer for things in your own time."
One councillor, whose name is redacted, accuses another of un-Christian behaviour.
"He professes to be Christian but his actions, views and decisions provide ample evident (sic) that this just cannot be so, he is the least Christian but simply plays the game for personal gain and personal agendas."
Another councillor, in a text, refers to "the god botherers … waging a massive war" on the person.
In another conversation between councillors, a text was sent asking if a councillor is a "goodie or a badie (sic)", suggesting the drama "could be a series on Netflix".
Others attempted to hose down tensions, writing: "Stop this folly and be reconciled so that the important business of the City may proceed effectively."
They're efforts that were welcomed by Mayor Powell.
"We are allowing petty rivalries and inflated egos get in the road of the effective response we need right now."
Councillor Jako Abrie also considered resigning during the drama, telling 1 NEWS "the relationships between councillors was toxic" enough that he distanced himself and introduced boundaries.
He says he "embedded those techniques" into his routine and after a two-week trial, decided to stay on.