This week, the Chronicle is profiling a range of Whanganui leaders about what they do, what's important to them, and what leadership means. Today Ethan Griffiths speaks with Central Football's Matt Calvert.
When Matt Calvert first came to Whanganui in 2016, he was only supposed to be here for three months.
Five years on, he has become one of the most well-known faces in Whanganui football, leading community development in the sport locally, captaining the district's premier men's team while simultaneously managing the women's team.
Calvert first came to Whanganui to play in the district's representative team, moving from his home in North Yorkshire, where he grew up on a highland sheep farm.
"After school, I went down the route of wanting to stay in England. By 23 I was in a bit of a rut, and decided I fancied playing football somewhere else," Calvert said.
A mutual friend put the athlete in touch with someone in New Zealand, and he was eventually offered a gig in Whanganui.
"They paid for my flights, and as part of the deal I got somewhere to stay and a job, which was working as a teacher aide at Castlecliff Primary," Calvert said.
He soon fell in love with the city, choosing to stay here working and playing football for two years.
He was eventually offered the opportunity to work as the Whanganui community development manager at Central Football.
He's been there since 2018, working alongside schools, clubs and players to grow the game in the district.
"Whanganui's been really good to me. What I hold quite dear to me is when you go somewhere and you're wanted and you're valued. Ever since I've been here they've made me feel really welcome.
"It's quite cool to be in a position to give back to the club. They've given me a hell of a lot."
Calvert's role is varied and includes working with schools on the district-wide competition, as well as promoting the game more generally.
Calvert said his leadership style was more about listening and learning, rather than instructing and directing.
"Being an outsider isn't about coming in and saying this is how you need to do things, but you need to understand what the landscape of football is and support it the best we can."
And the role was rewarding, according to Calvert, who said there was nothing more valuable than seeing people fall in love with the game, just as he did when he was younger.
"You take so much joy from people just loving the game. We want to put people in environments where, as a coach or a player, they're thinking they want to come back the following week, or play again next year.
"There's nothing more soul-destroying than when you hear of kids not carrying on in the game. The best memories I've made in my life have been from playing football."
But there are challenges too.
Calvert said one of the first lessons he learned in the role was that to be an effective leader, you have to connect with people, many of whom come from a variety of different backgrounds.
"Dealing with differentiation and dealing with individuals has been a lesson. You have to build a relationship with people first before you can start to implement change in the way they see the game.
"You want people to trust you, and you want to show people that you care about them as an individual as well."
And while he won't admit it, Calvert appears to have mastered that skill, developing lasting relationships with players and coaches across the district he now calls home.
"It really is a great place to be, and I'm privileged to do the work that I do."