Aileen Lawrie is ready for a new challenge. After 12 years as the Ōpōtiki District Council's chief executive, Lawrie will move to the Thames-Coromandel District Council next month. The Hauraki-Coromandel Post spoke to Lawrie about her future, her management style, and what she'll bring to her new district.
Despite the sadness of leaving her current job, Aileen Lawrie says she can go "feeling sort of satisfied as well".
"We've been in Ōpōtiki striving for some very large things for a long time, and the last two years, we've delivered all of them."
She said one of her proudest achievements whilst in her previous role was bringing in more grant money to the district than the amount collected in rates.
She was also proud of her work providing onshore infrastructure to support the aquaculture industry.
Aileen says her time in Ōpōtiki will transfer well to her new district.
"The issues [in Thames-Coromandel] are quite similar to where I am, but it's a bigger scale [...] it's got the coastal issues, it's got the roading issues, [and] having to pay for a lot of infrastructure with not so many fixed ratepayers.
"I understand the issues from Ōpōtiki. This is the stuff that I really enjoy doing."
Asked what she thought were the biggest issues Thames-Coromandel is facing, Aileen says it's up to elected officials to decide based on the will of voters.
"It's not really about the chief executive. It's about the elected membership - it's about the mayor and the councillors.
"The chief executive needs to be the solid figure standing behind delivering to those aspirations. The community will choose the leaders that they want, and then the CE delivers to that. It's more about serving than being out there.
"The chief executive implements what the vision of the council is."
Aileen's strategy for implementing that vision is teamwork based.
"I'm very keen on having a management team that works closely together - when advice goes forward to elected membership, it's [from] across the whole organisation. It's not siloed."
Aileen thinks the Government's upcoming reforms to local politics will have an impact on the council's future, particularly around the "centralisation of delivery" in areas like waste and Three Waters.
She says it's hard to say whether these will be positive or negative changes.
"Change is inevitable, and it's going to be different - how that pans out in an over-all sense, I'm not really sure."
Aileen likes a challenge: she appreciates that Thames-Coromandel issues have "lots of complexity and variability - lots to keep somebody interested".
One of the decisions she faces in moving districts is "negotiating with my family around how many chickens come, how many budgies... we have a lot of animals".
"Quite a bit of negotiation to take place."
Aileen says she is excited to start this new chapter in her story of public service.
"I'm really looking forward to it, I'm really excited. I've met some of the folks in the management team - just really, really looking forward to working with them."