Eru Lyndon won the Northland under-10 tennis championship when he was a youngster.
Now aged 32, he is again serving for Northland as regional commissioner for social development - the youngest regional leader the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has in the country.
And the stakes are much higher than the Moro bar and $2 he collected when winning his first tennis title.
MSD Northland has 174 staff in eight offices spending millions of dollars annually providing services for individuals, families, senior citizens, young people, students and disabled people around the region.
Mr Lyndon said he took on the role of commissioner because he was passionate about Northland.
"My family are here, I grew up here and I have had fantastic experiences here," he said.
"I want to work with my MSD colleagues, other government agencies, businesses, iwi and the community in Northland to improve the region's marginal position.
I would like to see a thriving economy and labour market and engaged communities."
He is the son of Pierre and Lisa Lyndon. The family lived at Pipiwai, where Mr Lyndon started school, and later moved to Whangarei, where he attended Totara Grove Primary School in Kamo. When he was 12 the family shifted to Wellington, where he attended secondary school and earned a place in the national tennis team's development programme.
An athletics scholarship took him to Oklahoma State University in the United States and when he returned at age 20 he studied law at Victoria University.
Following graduation, he worked on government policy in the health and justice sectors before completing a Master of business administration degree with distinction at the Auckland University of Technology.
Mr Lyndon was manager of the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Corporate Ltd policy and development unit in Auckland before this month moving to the MSD in Whangarei, where Ski Wisnesky had been keeping the commissioner's seat warm since Jan Rata's departure in July 2012.
Pierre Lyndon is a journalist with Ngati Hine and Ngati Whatua affiliations; Lisa is Ngatiwai and Ngati Kahu.
Mr Lyndon was welcomed on to the Terenga Paraoa Marae in Whangarei on May 20.