Every Monday the Chronicle fires 10 questions at a Whanganui or Rangitikei local, revealing their passions and some things you didn't know about them.
Today Lucy Drake speaks with Rangitikei mayor Andy Watson.
What has been occupying you during the lockdown?
I'm in a little bit of an unusual position because council stuff carries on so I've had two bubbles. The first bubble was at home with my wife Beth and I've been ordered into the garden to do long overdue maintenance but most of my time is actually in my other bubble at the council and largely in my office coping with welfare support and all those things.
If you're on cooking duty what would be your go-to home-cooked meal?
If it was me cooking, I love omelettes so as a lunch or breakfast meal that's probably me. Beth is a superb cook, which probably doesn't help my weight but it's something she's very good at and enjoys so at home she does most of the cooking.
What got you into local politics?
Essentially I thought that I could make a difference to our community and it was a follow on from being involved in school committees and all those sorts of things and local communities and you then get asked to stand for council.
If you weren't mayor is there another line of work you would want to be in?
Farming has always been my love and my wife and I have a tourist business as well which of course with all tourist businesses in New Zealand is under a high degree of question mark as to the future. But my degree is in agriculture and I've managed and then farmed under my own account sheep, beef and cropping.
What has been the most significant memory for you starting and operating the Spookers Haunted Attraction Theme Park?
Two things really, one is doing something that nobody else has done so that's been exciting but the fantastic thing has been being able to give employment to a number of young people and often it has been their first job so we owe a huge vote of thanks to them and it's been lovely to see their growth.
What's something outside of your career and your family have you dedicated yourself to?
That's a hard one because over the last few years my wife would say council has become my life but catching up with old friends and just spending time being able to walk out to our reserves and bush and having the chance to spend time on our rivers. That's where the relaxation comes.
What do you enjoy doing during your downtime when you're not busy in your everyday role?
I used to play a lot of squash but a few months ago I set myself the task of getting a little bit fitter. My work lifestyle is sitting behind a desk or in meetings and as part of that process I thought I will try and walk just about every DoC reserve that we have in our district. And I have some favourites and I would do them and I was able to drop my weight by seven to eight kilos, so it was fantastic.
What's your favourite music album?
I have a really wide range in the taste of music ranging from opera but as my favourites, things like Chess, Phantom, some of those musicals. They are something I will come back and listen to time and time again.
What do you enjoy most about living in the Rangitikei district?
It's the most fantastic place in the world. You tend to know most people and people walking down the street regardless if you know them or not they will say hello. It's just the great thing about rural, provincial small-town New Zealand. You know you walk down a street in Tauranga or Auckland and you walk past everybody and nobody talks to anybody but here you acknowledge everybody, it's just a friendly atmosphere.
What is your favourite season/time of year?
Summer, longer daylight hours and the ability to go out and spend time in our bush and our rivers and so on. So longer daylight hours means, for instance, we finish work at council then it still gives me the opportunity to take a couple of hours to do something.