Wairoa District Council's new permanent chief executive officer Kitea Tipuna will become the council's first tangata whenua Māori CEO after almost a year in an interim position.
Tipuna, who was born and raised in Wairoa, had been the interim CEO since October 2020 after the resignation of Steven May.
His appointment was confirmed at an extraordinary meeting held on Wednesday.
Wairoa mayor Craig Little said council received 14 applications for the position, but described Tipuna as a "great local person", with the qualifications, knowledge and capability to carry out the role.
"Elected members have seen the impact Tipuna has had on council during his time as interim chief executive and we are confident that through this permanent role council and Wairoa will continue to thrive," Little said.
"I believe in this case the wait has been well worthwhile."
Tipuna, who is known as Lucky, is the son of Mere and the late Nukumai (Duke) Tipuna, and said it was whānau that "brought me home".
"It was a lifestyle choice; I just wanted to be closer to my mum and my family," he said. "Coming home means people like me can bring their skills with them and contribute to our community.
"My focus is on serving the community and trying to give back what I have been fortunate enough to receive."
After completing his education at North Clyde School, Wairoa Intermediate and Wairoa College, Tipuna studied a degree in communications at Auckland University of Technology.
Spending 15 years working at AUT as a Māori liaison officer, equity policy advisor and manager of university performance strategy and planning, Tipuna also worked overseas before returning to Wairoa in 2014 to work for WDC.
Tipuna said his new permanent position comes with big community expectations.
"I am a local person, from the Mill Pa in Frasertown and Takitimu in North Clyde, and I understand our community," he said.
"While there are occasions where the decisions that council makes are not always what the community wants, I will always front up with honesty, integrity and transparency and will not hide behind a keyboard."
Tipuna added: "Wairoa is home, it's where my whānau are from. My appointment is a tribute to my mum and my whole whānau for laying the groundwork for people like me to contribute to future generations and the future of our community."
The newly appointed CEO dedicated his new role to his mother Mere, who he described as his "rock".
Mere said she's thrilled WDC has shown confidence in her son.
"He has worked hard for this, and he will continue to work hard for our people and our community," she said.
"I just hope I still get to see him. I know he's going to be busy, and I know he will give everything to his new role, and I will be there to support him."