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New council operations head takes role

SERVING a community he has come to love and improving its services is the motivation for Herman Koenders, who has taken over as acting group manager operations for Gisborne District Council, and who will seek to continue his goal of improving every organisation he has been associated with.

Mr Koenders has taken an initial 10-month contract to fill the role made vacant after his predecessor Barry Vryenhoek recently returned to Wellington for personal reasons.

It will also reunite him with the council’s chief executive Judy Campbell, with whom he worked at the former Tairawhiti Polytechnic.

Born in Holland, he has had a long and extensive career with a variety of major New Zealand companies. He has compiled an impressive list of senior management positions in a wide range of companies, from manufacturing and magazine distribution, to financial services and educational institutes.

He spent time with Te Runanga o Ngati Porou and Tairawhiti Polytechnic, where he and Mrs Campbell organised a merger with EIT that he believes has left the district’s students better placed.

He and his wife Louise Carlile have one daughter. The couple have owned a house in Score Road for 13 years.

Mr Koenders said he had decided to accept the challenge of his new position because he wanted to put something into the district and can align himself strongly to the values of Gisborne District.

He was fortunate the people he would be working with were dedicated, and committed.

“I believe in encouraging people to achieve their best as well as getting the best out of our systems,” he said.

“I am not much of a talker, I am a doer. If I can make the council a slightly better place in 10 months I will be happy,” he said.

“Being in management is not an individual sport, it is a team sport."

Mrs Campbell said she was “very pleased to be working with Herman again and I know he will be an asset to GDC, given his senior finance experience".

Chairman of the council’s performance, audit and review committee Brian Wilson also welcomed Mr Koenders, who he had worked with on the Polytechnic Council.

Herman Koenders