Holiday spot now home for former Christchurch business high-flyer

Jessica Garrett. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Jessica Garrett. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Making Wanaka home rather than a favourite holiday spot was the clincher for taking up a new council role.

Australian-born communications expert Jessica Garrett has been appointed as Queenstown Lakes District Council’s new Upper Clutha Liaison Manager.

Garrett, who was born in Newcastle but grew up in China, returned to Australia to study international relations.

She worked in government and higher education, but always holidayed in New Zealand for the "lifestyle and adventure".

In September 2017 she moved to Christchurch where she worked for Synlait Milk and helped co-founder Dr John Penno and former Fonterra executive Maury Leyland launch a plant protein company called Leaft Foods with the aim of producing protein from leafy green crops.

When she saw the job with the council advertised she saw an opportunity.

"My partner and I have a lot of close friends down here in Wanaka and any break and holiday we would be here.

"We talked about relocating here for so long, so we thought why don’t we make the move?"

Garrett said communications, governance, stakeholder management and community relations was "what I have done for so long and what I am really confident in doing".

Having only been in the role for just over a week,she had already met the Wanaka ward councillors, Wanaka Community Board chairman Barry Bruce, council managers and several community groups.

The position of Upper Clutha liaison manager was an election promise made good for Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult.

Garrett was the second person appointed to the position, replacing Robyn Steel who resigned after only a few months for family reasons.

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