From head boy to ambassador - Dargaville man Hayden Montgomery is New Zealand's representative to Argentina and Uruguay.
It was double joy for the former head boy of Dargaville High School after he tied the knot with Spanish partner Mariana Alvarez Rodriguez in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced Mr Montgomery's appointment last month which he would take up after a two-week intensive class in Spanish.
A science graduate, Mr Montgomery has extensive experience as lead negotiator for New Zealand on international climate change policy for agriculture and forestry. At 34, he's probably the youngest head of an overseas mission and said it was a great privilege to represent New Zealand in a country with a similar export sector such as agriculture.
Mr Montgomery hails from Mititai, 11km south east of Dargaville, and attended Arapohue Primary School, Dargaville High School and later at Auckland University.
"There are aspects of my old job as climate change negotiator, working with organisations in the UN [United Nations] and a fair bit of experience on the bilateral front, that are relevant to my new role."
He's been to Argentina before as part of his work but said to work as an ambassador required a deep understanding of the country and different skills.
"My career had been a bit of a transition, although I had not clear plans for the future but I've always had a strong interest in international relations," he said. His task this year was to learn Spanish so he would be able to function independently and to liaise comfortably with his wife.
His proud mum, Mary, said he had made many sacrifices during the years and that his family was only just beginning to realise the significance of his new appointment. Mr Montgomery will be cheering for the All Blacks when they take on Argentina in the Rugby Championship later this year.