Council's new CEO feels right at home

Sanchia Jacobs
Sanchia Jacobs
For Sanchia Jacobs, starting a new job in Central Otago is a real homecoming.

The new chief executive of the Central Otago District Council had her first day on the job on Monday, eager to give it her all in a community she spent so much time in as a child.

''Coming back here is more than just a great career move,'' she said.

''It's that coming home factor.''

Speaking from her new office in Alexandra, Ms Jacobs spoke about her place in Central Otago and why she felt so vested in the role.

''I've got so many relatives here - my dad, uncles, aunties, cousins, extended family.

''The lifestyle here is amazing, the environment is amazing, people are amazing, it felt to me like a place where you could have real balance.''

Ms Jacobs was brought up in Dunedin, but almost every holiday was spent over in heartland Central.

From horse riding near Arrowtown, to 4WDs in Bendigo to helping her mother run a market near Olivers in Clyde, she was confident she already knew Central Otago back to front.

Family connections in the district went back over a century - her great-grandfather was a gold-miner in Fruitlands.

Cities were her norm - beyond Dunedin she had Christchurch, Wellington, Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, and had arrived in Alexandra after nine years at the Auckland Council, most recently as an executive officer in operations.

But because Central was always a home for her, she loved the rural spirit.

The Otago Daily Times spoke to Ms Jacobs near the end of her first day in the office. She said other than negotiating the twists and turns of the council offices, the day had been ''amazing''.

''I had the sort of rolling 4 to 5 meetings today ... by the time I went for lunch, I was really excited about being here.''

Now it was time to get to work, but she did not see it being a problem because of the welcoming atmosphere of the district.

tom.kitchin@odt.co.nz

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