Insights from an Inspiring Community Leader

At the end of August, Anne Pullar will leave her role as Manager, Community Services for Central Otago District Council. During her 12 years in this role, Anne’s passion for communities has enabled some remarkable outcomes through community-led initiatives. We asked Anne to share some key highlights and insights into what she thinks make communities ‘sing’.

“I have always had a strong love of community installed in me from an early age. It has been a great privilege and pleasure to work with both individuals and community organisations over the past 12 years in Central Otago. One of my previous colleagues once said to me “It is easy to over-estimate what you can do in two to three years but under estimate what can happen in ten. What we are doing is building momentum.” This is so true.

There never has been a more important time to have strong and resilient communities – we need to be strong in all aspects whether it be the community, the economy, our identity or our environment. Central Otago District has a great foundation through its clear vision of who we are as a people, a region and what our communities want through our community plans and sector strategies.

Some of the most rewarding work during my time with Central Otago District Council has been developing the regional identity “Central Otago – A World of Difference” through many conversations with individuals, seeing their pride and passion for this region and their will to work together to maintain the things we all love. Working with the Community Plan Groups who have defined what is special to their towns and areas and providing encouragement along their journey while seeing their amazing results. The work that project groups take on including the Clutha Gold Trail Trust and the Roxburgh Gorge Trail Trust – 1000’s of hours of volunteer time to produce a world class tourism product which we as locals all get to enjoy. And there are many others from the Art Strategy to working with individual businesses. None of these amazing outcomes would have happened in Central Otago without the many individuals who give their time and expertise for a common goal.

The key is to build an understanding through conversations. Through conversations you find out what really makes people tick, what amazing background these individuals bring to our region and you discover what the opportunities may be - and often the result will be great collaboration. I’ve learned that unless you get to know people and stand beside them as you work, you will find out only what they believe you want to know.

I challenge you to make it your mission to love the moment no matter how turbulent, no matter how much you are being challenged. There are always opportunities to come from being in the moment. Great opportunities will come not only for you but for your community."
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