You may not be aware of the term 'localism', but if John Vujcich is elected as Far North mayor, it's a concept he hopes will have a long-lasting impact on the region.
Vujcich is one of four Far North District councillors in the running to become the district's next mayor, set to be decided at the upcoming local government elections in October.
Like the others, he too will bring his own unique take on the role and aspirations for the future.
Vujcich's passion for localism and the idea that 'people should have control over what happens in their local area' will be a key focus of his leadership if voted in as mayor.
The Kaikohe-Hokianga ward councillor said with all the Government-mandated changes to services on the horizon, he wanted to bring back local values to the Far North.
"Given what's to come in local government, I really want to make sure there are structures in place that empower our communities," Vujcich said.
"This will be done through innovative thinking and localism, which ultimately leaves it up to individual communities to determine their own needs, with the support of council and central government.
"This is important because when peoples' basic need for self-determination is met, peoples' lives generally get better."
The father of three and grandfather of two was born and raised in the Hokianga to Ivan and Millie Vujcich.
He is also a deer farmer and credits his entrepreneurial skills to his mum and dad who also established Northland's first supermarket - Northland Foods in Whangārei.
Vujcich graduated from Massey University (Palmerston North) with three separate post-graduate science degrees and knocked back a career in academia to work in corporate IT.
Not long after he met his wife Elodie (also a scientist), the couple made the move back to the North where they raised their three children.
Vujcich said he had also been instrumental in bringing the internet to the North and went on to own and operate Bay of Islands Computers in Kaikohe and Waipapa.
It was around the 1990s Vujcich said he started his work with the Kaikohe Community Trust, where he remains as chair.
"Through the trust, we ran a number of social services like Kiwican, Hippy and other educational courses," Vujcich said.
"I've also been involved with trade training through Northland College which was visited by former PM John Key when he was about to become an MP.
"He saw and liked what we were doing building houses and from that, the trade academies were born."
A few years later, Vujcich said the seeds of Kaikohe's famous Innovation and Enterprise Park were sewn, another important achievement in his career as councillor.
"The Innovation and Enterprise Park is something I'm very proud of and is a great example of how a circular economy and localism can work," Vujcich said.
Vujcich attributed his motivation to work in local government and now as mayor to his mother - a well-known Far North woman who pushed him to give back to the community.
"Mum would say, this town used to be great, but they've wrecked it and somebody needs to do something about it," Vujcich said.
"That's when I thought, maybe I better do something about it."
Vujcich first ran for council in 2013, where his campaign (and life) were almost cut short, after losing a leg in a horrific farming accident.
Thankfully he pulled through and was eventually elected as Kaikohe-Hokianga ward councillor in October 2013.
Now after three terms in council, he said his mother's words continued to inspire him.
In fact, it was his mum's early observations of the Far North towns of yesteryear that lay at the core of his passion and championing all things local.
"We used to drive into town and Mum would ask us to slow down so she could look at all the gardens," he said.
"There were a whole lot of gardens back then and that's what these communities were - self-sufficient and resilient.
"I've seen towns in pain and how they've gone backwards and that hurts."
Vujcich expressed he had grave concerns about the centralisation of many services across New Zealand and felt they would only last a couple of decades before people had had enough.
"If an asset is taken out of the control of communities, you are effectively taking away the very thing that would enable them to thrive and prosper," he said.
"Being disempowered and having someone else making decisions for you doesn't allow you to take ownership of where you live.
"Amalgamation of 1989 left local communities without local leadership. I believe that has been one of the reasons why deprivation in many areas has increased."
Vujcich said his campaign and beyond would focus on five key issues: affordability; empowered local communities and community boards; economic development; better governance and long-term planning and finally; a return to vibrant communities.
The councillor has been invited to speak about localism at the Far North REAP centre in Kaitaia tomorrow from 6pm-8pm.
To find out more about Vucjich's mayoral campaign, visit: john4council.co.nz.