A word from Sanchia Jacobs, Central Otago District Council chief executive

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Correct name Maniatoto now adopted after new awareness

Central Otago District Council enjoys a productive and deepening relationship with iwi, in particular our runaka partners over on the East Coast who have a long history of presence in Central Otago.

Recently we have been working closely together on a tourism destination management plan for the district, with the goal of ensuring our community is at the heart of how we manage this incredible place as our tourism sector grows.

Through that work we have been advised that the word Maniototo has been historically misspelt, and that spelt as it is, it has no meaning, value or relevance to mana whenua. The correct spelling is Maniatoto – meaning plains of blood and referring to the red tussocks that covered the landscape.

In recognition of our relationship with iwi, our desire to be historically accurate, and to ensure the true meaning of the beautiful Maniatoto is captured in its name, staff at CODC will now use the corrected spelling in our documents.

So, if you see this spelling start to appear around the place, you’ll know why.

In other news, I am privileged to hold the position of president of Taituara – the national member organisation for local government professionals.

As a CEO at a small provincial council, holding the position of president for our sector organisation means that I can participate in, and contribute to, meetings at a national level.

This is critical for the work I do in Central Otago, particularly at a time when we are facing unprecedented reform.

Ensuring the voice of our district is represented at a high level means that our voice is less likely to be overshadowed by larger, louder ones.

Last week I was part of the Central Government Local Government Forum Plenary – a meeting co-chaired by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Local Government and the president of Local Government New Zealand.

It is attended by about six to eight ministers, the National Council of LGNZ, myself and the CEO of Taituara.

The session focused on Three Waters reform and the Future for Local Government Review, but also touched on resource management reform and other topics from the floor.

The conversation was free and frank, a genuine dialogue, and all were curious to understand more about the others’ views.

Irrespective of a person’s preference for which government is in power, I am grateful that we live in a country where dialogue like this occurs and that it helps to shape outcomes.

Looking around the world at the moment it strikes me that we are lucky indeed.