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Chris Hawker, of Christchurch, has been appointed inaugural manager/controller for the Otago Regional Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group.
Experienced in both business and local government, Mr Hawker has spent the past nine years in operational and teaching roles at Canterbury University.
He had co-led the development there of an extensive emergency preparedness programme, and also led Canterbury University's operational response to the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes as its primary incident controller, council officials said.
After the earthquakes, the university programme had been internationally acknowledged for its effectiveness, Otago CDEM co-ordinating executive group chairman Peter Bodeker said.
Having previously lived in Dunedin and Wanaka, Mr Hawker and his family were looking forward to returning to Otago.
He will start his new job on November 2.