This month, Ōpōtiki District Council says goodbye to one of their longest-serving staff members as he heads to Whakatāne for a new role with the neighbouring Council.
Chief Executive, Aileen Lawrie, said that she spoke for all the staff who would be sorry to see Mike Houghton leave.
"Mike has been at Ōpōtiki District Council for 25 years. In fact, he is finishing up with us almost exactly on his anniversary date (12 March) and it almost goes without saying that he will leave a big hole to fill.
"Mike has been part of my leadership team since I started and given his long service, he is well connected in the community and across the whole district.
"I am sure he'd have a long list of things he is proud of but some of his legacy projects he leaves behind in this community are the cycleways, the beautiful Pakowhai bridge and Pavilion, re-siting the Pou Whenua, boatramp, famous events like the Lantern Fest, a bustling library and its future plans as Te Tāhuhu o te Rangi, and well-used public facilities.
"Mike isn't moving far – he is heading across to Whakatāne District Council where he will have a similar role but with a bigger budget and a larger portfolio. We wish him all the very best in our neighbouring council. Keep an eye out for cycleways in Whakatāne coming soon!" Ms Lawrie said.
Whakatāne District Council Community Services General Manager Mike Naude has welcomed Mr Houghton's move.
"Mike's experience and dedication will play a key role in the future development of our places and open spaces and we look forward to him leading our dedicated team in delivering ever-better community facilities and amenities," he said.