Buller District Council

Media Release- Buller District Council Appoints New Chief Executive

28th September, 2018

Mayor Garry Howard today announced the appointment of Sharon Mason to the role of Chief Executive of Buller District Council.  “Sharon comes to us with a wealth of experience in very senior executive roles in the health service” said Mayor Howard.  “In her past roles, Sharon has had overall responsibility for the delivery of complex health services across multiple disciplines covering over 1,500 staff and managing budgets well in excess of $200 million. She is a hugely experienced and extremely competent senior executive who we are lucky to have.”

For her part, Ms Mason said that her and her family couldn’t wait to relocate from the Hawkes Bay to the Buller District and to set about becoming part of the community. “”For a growing period of time now, I’ve been feeling as though something is lacking in organisational leadership. To me, it’s all about people succeeding and being able to succeed: for themselves, for their colleagues, for the services they deliver AND for the people they serve. Creating that sort of work place is exactly why I became a senior manager. And I hadn’t yet found it. Then I read the advert and candidate pack for the role here at Buller; everything it said was everything that I’ve ever wanted to make happen. I immediately rang Keith to see if it meant what it said, and he convinced me that this was the real deal. From that moment on, from the discussions with Council, to visiting, to talking through what this meant for me and Richard and Niamh: this is exactly what I want to be a party to helping make. I want to be the Chief Executive that everyone can be proud of. That’s why I’m coming!”

“Sure, I am aware that while some may see me as somewhat ‘new’ to local government, I do have considerable experience in working alongside elected health boards, and that has also given me a good insight into the wider issues facing rural communities.”

Mayor Howard said that Councillors and staff were committed to working to make Ms Mason successful in her new role. “We just can’t wait for her to start.”

Ms Mason takes up the appointment on 29th October.  Interim Chief Executive, Keith Marshall, who will step aside before Ms Mason starts said “Buller District Council is going to be in great hands.  Sharon is an amazingly talented person and a fantastic appointment!”

The appointment of Ms Mason was a unanimous decision of Council from a final shortlist of 4 candidates. Mayor Howard said that Buller Council was lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and interview four incredibly competent and capable people, any one of whom could have done the job.

Alongside the appointment of Ms Mason, the Buller District Council has also taken the step of releasing its formal decisions about the appointment into the public arena. “Because of the wide interest of our community around this appointment, we wanted to be transparent around Sharon’s appointment” said Mayor Howard. “The salary package for Ms Mason is $225,000 per annum. This is at a level that reflects the skills, experience, size and complexity of the job of a Chief Executive of a small Council in New Zealand, and which mirrors that of the other Council’s Chief Executives on the West Coast.”

Sharon Mason – Biography

Sharon comes to the Buller District Council from Hawkes Bay. Sharon originates from Northumberland in the UK and has lived in New Zealand for the past 18 years, she is happily married to Richard and they have a teenage daughter, Niamh.

Sharon brings 12 years of senior executive & management experience from the health and public sector environment, most recently having been the Executive Director of Provider Services for Hawkes Bay DHB and prior to that Director of Operations at Southern DHB and Executive General Manager with the North West Area Health Service in Tasmania.  In each of these roles, Sharon had overall responsibility for health service delivery across multiple disciplines covering over 1,500 staff and managing budgets well in excess of $200 million. All Sharon’s leadership roles have been based in rural regional areas so she understands and appreciates the strong values of rural communities, as well as the complexities and challenges they face.

Sharon and her family have always lived and owned rural properties around New Zealand and they thoroughly enjoy the outdoors lifestyle.  Richard is a keen hunter and bee keeper, and Niamh enjoys helping her dad out on the land.  As a family, they are looking forward to becoming part of the Buller community.




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