Pukeroa Oruawhata general manager Peter Faulkner has announced he will step down from the role in August after 25 years with the group. He spoke to journalist David Beck about what went into the decision, what he's most proud of, and what comes next.
"In a role like this, the focus is on leaving the organisation in a better state than when you entered. As a result of the efforts of the whole team, we have done that."
Those are the words of Pukeroa Oruawhata general manager Peter Faulkner who, after 25 years with the group, is taking a step back.
Faulkner was employed as Pukeroa Oruawhata's banker for about 14 years before taking on the role of general manager, which he has held for the past 11.
He said, although he was not quite at retirement age, the timing was right to move aside.
The Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust, established in 1980, is responsible for managing and enhancing land and assets owned by Ngāti Whakaue, including the Rotorua Central Mall and Trade Central, as well as the Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa currently being developed.
"I'm not at retirement age yet but essentially what I've been looking at is managing the transition process to phase myself out and bring someone else in," Faulkner said.
"Our focus over the last 25 years has been to develop the assets we had to provide a stable and sustainable base which will provide benefit for Ngāti Whakaue - both current generations and future generations.
"We have that solid platform and now is the time to introduce a fresh set of legs to take us forward on that next phase of growth."
Faulkner will retain a reduced role at Pukeroa Oruawhata, helping with the transition to a new general manager and seeing out the completion of the Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa.
"The company has asked and I've agreed to oversee the spa through to completion, on a reduced time basis, but we expect that to come to market in August 2022."
He said a health scare a few years ago, which he has fully recovered from, helped put things in perspective.
He has two sons living in Canada, who he has not seen for about three years, one of whom has a son Faulkner is yet to meet. Visiting them is top of the to-do list after he officially steps down as general manager in August.
"That health issue has been resolved but there's nothing like an increased awareness of your mortality to make you look at things differently.
"I have a freshly minted grandson in Canada who my wife and I are desperate to meet. It's all those sorts of factors that go into the decision and I'm starting to look at the fact I have things outside of work that I want to do."
The biggest challenge Faulkner and his team faced during the last 25 years came last year, during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
However, the way the group came through those hard times reaffirmed the stable platform they had developed.
"That was a real challenge," he said
"It was full-on and challenging, but satisfying. We came through that in a pretty stable position. Getting through at the other end was really rewarding.
"That basically says we have built a solid platform, now let's get someone new in for the next stage of growth because I'm not going to be around for the next 25 years."
Faulkner said there was some sadness in stepping down after so long in the role, but overall he was proud of his contribution.
"It's like a child, sometimes you just have to step away and let them grow. There is a degree of sadness but also a degree of pride in what we achieved.
"It's a culmination of a whole range of things. We have a solid asset base, solid income streams and we're starting to deliver solid returns to our owners and Ngāti Whakaue."