After nearly two decades RoadSafe Northland "legend" Gillian Archer has steered in a new direction with her recent retirement.
Filling the driver's seat as road safety co-ordinator is experienced former police officer and Northlander Ashley Johnston.
Archer has swapped her 19-year road safety career for "a bit more travelling, a bit more tramping, more walking, and a bit more pilates".
"My first project is turning my home office back into a bedroom," she said.
At the start of her Northland chapter, Archer - originally a chartered accountant and before that a trained teacher - moved to One Tree Point from Auckland around 30 years ago.
In the first two years, she experienced the community loss of two young people who died in a drink-driving accident.
"The worst part was the attitude from the community, that this kind of thing happens. I didn't accept that. I wanted to make a difference and think what else can be done from an education perspective."
This ignited her full-time commitment to advocating for safer roads in the region - an experience that was full of challenges and achievements, she said.
She developed award-winning programmes related to alcohol management, recidivist drink driving, young drivers, child restraints and the community mentor driving programme.
Archer described winning the National Road Safety Week AMI Community Safety Award last year as a key moment for the organisation. The inaugural award recognises outstanding work by a community group to minimise road tragedies and provide support and education for their communities.
Other successes she achieved were winning the NZ National Innovation Award for Community projects for region-wide initiative Shattered Dreams; the NZ National Innovation Award for AMO (Alcohol Management Operation) with the Northland rugby referees; and the NZ National Innovation Award for the Share the Roads project with the Northland Freight Group.
"Those are on the large scale and on the small scale, the standout moment is going to a community meeting where we needed a car for our driver mentor volunteer programmes," she said.
"Five minutes into the meeting a local said, 'tell me about this car' ... he told me how the community had been really good to him and suddenly we had a car."
John Williamson, chairman of Roadsafe Northland and Northland Road Safety Trust, described Archer as "a legend in her own right".
"She has engaged with several professional organisations, community groups and volunteers and, what was evident at her farewell, was the affection, passion and enthusiasm of the people she has worked with."
Affection, passion and enthusiasm that Archer believed will continue with the introduction of Johnston.
"I have had six weeks with Ashley ... she is wonderful and will do a really great job."
Johnston's background is a decade of road safety roles within the New Zealand police, including a role in the national police headquarters in Wellington as a strategic adviser on the road safety team.
Like Archer, her zest for tackling road safety issues was a response to confronting experiences involving road fatalities that "really hit home".
Johnston's eyes welled as she recalled the death of a grandmother in Taranaki earlier in her career.
"She was run over returning home from babysitting at night," she said. "Some kids put cones out on the road, probably as a prank. She got out of her car to move them and was hit by a car coming the other way."
Johnston said experiences like that are what kept her firmly on her path to promoting greater road safety awareness and improvements.
"Even 10 years on I can tell you exactly what they were wearing ... and these people are never coming home. I wanted to be a part of strengthening our message around cause and consequences."
She described the return to Northland with her family as "coming home" and she is excited about what lies ahead.
"We are going to continue to build those connections and relationships within Northland to keep our communities safe," she said. "I am feeling very lucky to be back here."