A former crop farmer is now the director of environmental services at Stratford District Council.
Blair Sutherland started in the role last week. He's worked at South Taranaki District Council for the past 15 years.
"The last role I had was planning manager which involved environmental policy and both consenting and managing resource consents."
Blair grew up near Pātea. Before working in local government, he was a crop farmer in Australia, something he says influenced his later studies.
"When I was crop farming I became interested in sustainability. I had a degree in a agricultural engineering but I went back and studied natural resource management. There happened to be a job available at the South Taranaki District Council which I applied for."
He wanted a change of scenery and the career development the role offers.
"In this role I have a broader suite of responsibilities. I'm doing the same things that I did at South Taranaki District Council but I'm also doing more as well."
Blair says he is looking forward to broadening his skill base and getting to know the Stratford community,
"I'm looking forward to meeting the Stratford community and getting to know the things that are important to them."
"It's a small close-knit team that works very well together. Everyone has been very welcoming."