A Bay of Plenty councillor is reconnecting with the community, and himself, one buzzcut at a time.
Stacey Rose has returned to his barbering roots - and is loving it.
Rose is working as a barber a couple of days a week, in addition to his duties as a councillor at Bay of Plenty Regional Council. This will be the 21-year-old's fourth week working at The Barbershop Company on Tauranga's Devonport Rd.
"I'm loving barbering. The reason I love barbering and it's a passion of mine is the fact that not only do you get to put a smile on someone's face by making them look good, but you also give those men and women the opportunity to actually talk and have these one-on-one conversations with someone who's there to listen," he said.
"A lot of people forget that for barbers, we are meant to be there not just for haircuts but to also make people smile, make sure they leave with a good attitude."
It has been nearly a year since Rose was formally sworn in as an elected member. Rose stood as one of five candidates who put their names forward for the five seats in the Tauranga constituency. It was a seat he had not anticipated winning and nearly withdrew from but after careful consideration, he fully embraced the role.
Rose had been a barber before being elected but gave up the career to focus solely on his new task. During the past 12 months, Rose has learned and enjoyed plenty in local government but found he missed the energy of a barbershop and cutting people's hair.
"It's actually been a real smooth transition. I do really love the fact I can just walk in and do my own thing where I just talk to the lads, cut their hair and not really stress," Rose said.
Rose said he was still finessing the balance between the two roles but enjoyed the combination.
"Being able to actually talk to my constituents and be open about certain things is always good. I know for a fact, my colleagues may disagree with me but, I would say being an elected member is probably a bit harder than being a barber in terms of all the reading and new knowledge you learn every single day. Barbering, you're having fun."
Barbering was also Rose's opportunity to reconnect with his former role and regular people, he said.
The two jobs kept him busy but "it works".
"I've made the right call, definitely."
Fellow Bay of Plenty regional councillor, former Tauranga mayor and current president of Local Government New Zealand Stuart Crosby said he "absolutely" supported Rose, who had been doing a fantastic job in his first year, which was not always easy.
"The complexity of being an elected member has increased over the years. It used to be a relatively simple business. now it's highly complex. It does require a lot of time not just to attend meetings, but reading and community engagements. That's just part of it," Crosby said.
Crosby said it was important to keep other projects going as the elected member role was essentially a three-year contract.
"Stacey is going incredibly well in our council. He's having his voice heard immediately which is good, with a particular focus on young people. He's going really well despite the complexities."