Today we begin our series profiling a range of Whanganui leaders about what they do, what's important to them and what leadership means.
First up, Mike Tweed speaks to St Peter's Anglican Church priests Paul and Ana Fletcher.
Paul and Ana Fletcher have been priests at St Peter's in Gonville for just over two years and in that time their hour-long Sunday service has grown from a handful of people to a full house of at least 80-90 every week.
Paul said a huge part of their role was simply listening - to the community, to neighbours, to schools, and to other local leaders.
"We want to find out about the strengths of this place, and what's going well," he said.
"Then, what areas need some encouragement and support.
"You're always listening, and asking 'how can we help and empower stuff in this neighbourhood?'
"Our ears are always attuned to that."
Ana said they wanted to create a "faith base" that felt welcoming to the people living in the Gonville area.
"In the past four months or so particularly we've seen a lot more people coming along," she said.
"They want to be part of this diverse community of people that is like a wider whānau.
"There's that faith element, but for some people it's still new, or not even a thing. It's about being part of something bigger than myself, where I can belong and contribute.
"That's a big thing here. There's no one rostered on to do the dishes, for instance. You just need to jump in and help."
Facilitating conversations between people of vastly different backgrounds was also a part of their role, Paul said.
"There could be an ex-diplomat sitting next to a person who's just scraping by every week, but actually, you guys need each other, and you have something to gift each other in terms of a relationship.
"I think people deeply want that, but perhaps they don't know how to go about it.
"The person with power might change their decision-making because they're sharing a meal with somebody who struggles to access mental health stuff, or adequate law stuff to protect themselves.
"Our job as leaders is to facilitate that environment."
Ana said she was always excited to see people in positions of influence be able to engage with those who were "the ultimate recipients" of the good that could come from it.
"That's in a real life, relatable way as well, rather than just as a provider of a service.
"Every Sunday we have a shared meal here. Anyone who walks through the doors is welcome to join and be a part of the family straight away.
"By the second visit, there's an element of 'sweet, we're ready for you to get up and do the reading' or 'go help out with the dishes'. There's a sense of immediate welcome, but also getting a place within the community here."
Because they had their "heads down" in their own community, there wasn't a lot of time left to spend with other faith leaders in Whanganui, Paul said.
"That's the way it should be.
"To be honest, I don't want to be spending all my time in church circles. I just want to be in my own community among the grit."
Ana said the couple had warm relationships with other religious leaders but they tried not to spend all their time in a "holy huddle".
Paul said one of the privileges he'd had as leader of the church was to influence a lot of young adults.
"That's in terms of their trajectory in life.
"There are those that are privileged, like myself, really, and they're on a career path and gaining skills. That's awesome, but what does it look like to use that for the betterment of society, instead of just a self-absorbed thing?
"What does it look like to gift your best, always with a lens of how it impacts those most on the edge of society?"
Then there were those young adults "on the other end of the spectrum".
"They were not born into privilege and might battle the thoughts of 'I'm worthless and I've got nothing to contribute', which is often the mentality you get when you're born into poverty," Paul said.
"Actually, they have so much to offer and they've got so much resilience.
"Again, that's our role, to create a space and a mindset where those two worlds are coming together in a more equitable relationship."
Outside of his role as a priest, Paul said his greatest accomplishment was their family.
"Ana's way above my station, and you can quote me on that.
"Secondly, producing two children that are far too good looking and far too intelligent to be mine.
"I'll take them, though."
Ana said the couple maintained an openness with their community, and not just on Sunday evenings.
"People see a lot of our lives. They see our lives at home, they see us at the school gates, and they see us here in church.
"People know what they're getting, and what they get on a Sunday is what they get for the rest of the week.
"I don't know if you could call us normal, but we're human beings."
Ultimately, they were called to be leaders to model the work of Jesus, and to "bring about good stuff among the hard", Paul said.
"Jesus comes along and is totally engaged in the community, among civil war, poverty, depression, colonisation, all that kind of stuff.
"He's a person who lives in the hood and brings comfort to those that need comfort, and challenges those in power who need to be challenged, but he also brings a lot of joy and celebration among the suffering and hardship.
"If the journey isn't exciting and hopeful, then it certainly isn't about Jesus at that point, it's bulls**t."