Proven public sector leader to join Far North District Council

Published on 18 March 2021

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A proven leader with 30 years’ public sector experience in central and local government is joining the Far North District Council’s Strategic Leadership Team.

Darren Edwards will join the Council as General Manager – Strategic Planning and Policy on 24 May, replacing Darrell Sargent who left the organisation last year to pursue a new leadership opportunity.

Mr Edwards spent five years with the Far North District Council (FNDC) before taking up the position of Group Manager – Environmental Management and Planning at Invercargill City Council in January 2020.  During his time with the FNDC, he held several senior leadership roles, including Manager – Environmental Services, Chief Information Officer, and General Manager (Acting) – Environmental, Community and Customer Services.  Before joining the FNDC in June 2015, Mr Edwards was the Ministry for Primary Industries’ District Compliance Manager – Northland; a position he held for 10 years.  During this time, he spent 2014 with the NZ Defence Force where he completed a Master of International Security from Massey University.  Before that, he worked with the New Zealand Police from 1991 to 2005. 

Chief Executive, Shaun Clarke, says the Council received a significant number of applications for the position.  Shortlisted applicants attended a panel interview which included senior executives from other Northland businesses.  He is pleased the Council was able to recruit a high-calibre leader to fill this strategically important position.  “Darren is a proven leader with extensive public sector experience.  He also knows our organisation and our communities and has family in Kerikeri, so will be able to make an immediate impact in the position.”

Mr Clarke was impressed by the business and leadership acumen Mr Edwards demonstrated at his interview.  “In his current position at Invercargill City Council, Darren is responsible for two large portfolios and he leads 180 people with a significant budget.  He has proven himself by addressing leadership and management challenges that would be significant for any council.”

Mr Clarke thanks General Manager – Corporate Services, Will Taylor, and Manager – Corporate Planning & Engagement, Sheryl Gavin, who have alternately led the Strategic Planning and Policy Team since last December.  “Will and Sheryl have provided effective leadership during an exceptionally busy period.  The fact they were able to take up this role and ensure business continuity is a testimony to the talent and agility our organisation has.”

Mr Edwards says, after a short time away from Northland, he is really excited to be returning home to his family in Kerikeri and continuing to build on the Far North District Council’s recent successes.



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