“Why would you want to be anywhere else?”
Anne Mcleod’s answering a question with a question as she explains her passion for living and working in Taupo.
The former deputy CEO at Taupo District Council has recently taken up a new role with Waikato Regional Council as its area manager for Taupo and the Upper Waikato River.
“I want to stay in Taupo. It’s been home for a decade, it’s where I want to be, I’m part of this community,” she says.
Anne’s experience in and around Taupo means she has a good understanding of the importance of the district’s local communities and of relationship building “so that our work is integrated with others”.
Her new role within the regional council’s river and catchment services team is one of two established recently (the other is in Hauraki-Coromandel) to help provide better support for local communities, on the edges of the region, with high-profile environmental management issues.
In Taupo’s case, those issues include things like lake foreshore erosion, maintaining water quality in the lake and waterways, and land management around the Taupo catchment. These are issues close to Anne’s heart.
“The things that have pushed my buttons over the last 10 years include the lake protection work I’ve been involved with and the multi-agency 20/20 Taupo-nui-a-tia project involving management of the lake and its surrounds.”
One of the satisfactions of this work – and which she expects to continue in her new role – is seeing plans come to fruition over the years.
“It’s been great seeing things we planned 10 years ago starting to happen. Working together, we had brought it together, such as the implementation of the Variation 5 policy to protect the lake.
“People might gripe sometimes that they can’t see the impact the regional council is having but we are working really hard and we can look back on many achievements.”
Anne also says it is great see farmers, property owners and community organisations doing their bit to look after land and water.
“It’s important that we support this effort through our catchment management officers. There’s been some stunning work done here over the last five years to protect wetlands and bush remnants particularly in the southern part of the Taupo catchment.”
Besides opportunities for building on local successes, Anne sees some real challenges when it comes to protecting water quality in the Upper Waikato catchment.
“The good thing is that we, as an organisation, are working really collaboratively with iwi and the agriculture sector on this. Those sorts of relationships will help us move forward very positively.”