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It is a homecoming of sorts for the new Fire Service East Otago area manager.
"It has been a 35-year round trip," Laurence Voight (53) said yesterday.
Born and raised in Dunedin, he left the city as an 18-year-old, later swapping the banking industry for the Fire Service.
That 25-year career has taken him from Lower Hutt, where he recently worked in an acting assistant area role and completed an executive officer programme, to Dunedin last month.
"It [East Otago] is a large area, has 105 career staff and about 400 volunteers."
His priority before the end of the year was to visit each station in East Otago, which stretches from Waikouaiti, inland to Middlemarch and south to Papatowai, to talk to staff and volunteers "to get the lay of the land".
"I aim to be here for a few years, so that should bring some stability to the place," he said.
Mr Voight replaces Brian Davey, who had retired but returned earlier this year in a "caretaker role" following the departure of former area manager Brendan Nally, who took up a management position in Lower Hutt.
Mr Nally is set to return to Dunedin to take over the acting regional manager role from Stu Rooney, who is heading to a senior position in Wellington.
East Otago assistant area commander Trevor Tilyard has also confirmed his retirement.