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He said it was one the toughest decisions of his life.
Mr Ruru is taking up a position as chief executive at the Taranaki Regional Council at the end of September — after a stint of six years in Southland.
"I have enjoyed my time down here immensely and it’s been a fantastic opportunity.
"However, this is the right decision for me and my family at this time."
One of the things he was proud of was the work the council had done to build a platform for community-led development and being partners with the communities, he said.
Mayor Gary Tong described Mr Ruru’s departure as a "great loss to Southland".
"Steve and I have had an open and transparent relationship and I have really appreciated his support, both professionally and personally.
"He is widely respected in both the local government sector and within central government," Mr Tong said.
The mayor wished him all the best for the future.