Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Rotorua and, apart from a period away studying after I left school, I've worked here all my life. I am married to Jenny and we have three adult (just) children. Two of them work in Rotorua and the other is in Western Australia.

I studied civil engineering and worked for the New Zealand Forest Service before moving to the council.

What does your job at the Rotorua Lakes Council entail?


I've been in my current position for 17 years and am responsible for the continued operation of our water supply, wastewater and stormwater services (often referred to as "the three waters").

We manage 10 separate water supplies around the district which include pump stations, treatment plants and over 800km of water pipes.

Our wastewater treatment plant produces amongst the highest quality effluent in the country. We have 80 sewage pump stations, 520km of sewer pipes in the network and manage over 390km of stormwater pipes and open drains.

I can't speak highly enough of the team members and contractors that do all the work to maintain these services.

We need to constantly carry out monitoring to ensure we provide drinking water safe to drink and at sufficient pressure and flow, that we treat the community's wastewater so that effluent has minimal impact on the environment and that we minimise the impact on residents from sewer blockages and heavy rainfall events.

We need to ensure we constantly maintain all the assets to a high standard, and also that we replace and renew our assets when appropriate.

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We also need to keep pace with technology and upgrade and improve assets when we identify we can obtain efficiencies and we need to have contingency plans to cope with major incidents or weather events.

My job certainly has variety. In a day, I can deal with everything from budgeting to bacteria, from mechanical and electrical faults to a flooded driveway complaint, or from writing a report to a sudden problem in the middle of the public holidays, such as we currently have at Mamaku.

What has been the problem with the Mamaku bore?

Up until about three years ago, the water for Mamaku was sourced from a bore in the middle of the township approximately 90m deep. About six years ago the flow from the bore declined to a point where it was not sufficient to cope with summer demand. From time to time we had to truck water to the reservoir to cope and ask residents to urgently conserve water.

After much investigation, we located sufficient water at around 250m deep, drilled a new bore nearly 300m deep and installed a larger pump near the bottom.

We also retained the old bore and pump for use as a standby.

The new deep bore and pump has operated well since its installation, but in the early hours of Wednesday morning it failed for reasons unknown, and we have to revert to the old bore and pump until the new pump is fixed.

Being mid-summer, we have had to again ask residents to urgently conserve water so the old pump can keep up.

When you are not working, what do you like to do?

I'm keen on most outdoor sports including fishing and boating.

I've done a few marathons and long-distance triathlons but these days I'm doing a lot of mountain biking. My house is also in a permanent state of DIY renovations.

Why do you like living in Rotorua?

Rotorua has beautiful lakes and forests, is close to beaches, mountains, bush and Auckland, so there is always plenty to do nearby. It's also where my family and most of my friends are, which is important.

Tell us three things most people would not know about you.

My first ever flight in a plane was for a parachute jump.

Just after I turned 50 I spent several months building mountain bike trails in Portugal.

I like my music too loud.