Us Two: Otago mayors Tim and Bryan Cadogan

Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan, left, with his brother Bryan, the Clutha District mayor, on the day of their mutually ...
JO MCKENZIE-McLEAN

Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan, left, with his brother Bryan, the Clutha District mayor, on the day of their mutually successful elections in October last year.

Brothers Tim and Bryan Cadogan made history when they were elected the mayors of neighbouring districts last year. It's Tim's first term as Central Otago mayor and Bryan's third as Clutha's. Tim, 51, lives in Clyde and Bryan, 57, in Balclutha.

BRYAN: When Tim told me he was running for mayor, in a way he caught me by surprise. But he is very political and I knew he always has interests in that direction. You know what he actually said? "I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to influence my decision."

It's rejuvenated the reasons why I'm here. You have a lot of strong relationships with the regional mayors in my area. But then it takes it to another dimension with Tim, obviously. We know each other's issues and I suppose we can talk more candidly with each other. I'm probably more abrasive, Tim thinks a bit deeper. He reads a lot. Tim's more academic.

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His district - Central Otago - is quite different than mine. There's certainly different social dynamics that need to be addressed. I've had a focus on youth unemployment - we've had a wealth of jobs in our district that we just cannot fill. Tim's economy's geared up a whole lot different. Our main industry is the freezing works, his main industry I presume would be wine-growing and agriculture and tourism.

Until about 10 years ago, there were 4 of us in the family. And then blow me down, out the blue came [another sibling]. Mum had got pregnant to Dad when Dad went away to war and when he came back, the child was taken from Mum - it was quite a tragic story for Mum. You wouldn't believe it but the guy, our full brother, was actually on Tim's council!

Murray had been on the Central Otago District council and the Cromwell Community Board. I'd been in a room with him when the two councils met up, Tim had interviewed him when he was a radio announcer. Our lives had been separated for over 50 years and then they came together. We only reconnected just in the nick of time before Dad passed away. When we look at each other now it's just obvious that he's our brother.

Tim and I, we've never gone to loggerheads. It wasn't really until we were adults you'd say we came together as friends. We were just a wee bit too separated in years to be awfully close. But time soon sorts that out.

TIM: Bryan was first elected mayor six years ago. We were at his house in Balclutha and the election result came through a lot earlier than expected. He went into his bedroom to get the news and he came out quite shaken - initially we thought he'd lost. When we realised he'd won, it was just absolute elation.

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Growing up, I was the nerd - that would be the easiest way to put it. My older brothers were the rugby-playing blokes and I was the kid reading the encyclopaedia.

When I decided to stand for the mayoralty, I knew I'd have Bryan's support. He had a relationship with the incumbent mayor and they got on well together. Bryan was very sensitive to that.

Bryan had been elected unopposed and that meant we could be together on election day last year. We had planned a barbecue to celebrate Bryan's birthday, and celebrate having a go.

I was a bit naughty actually because I had said all along I was going to make the same speech whether I won or lost - it was the same people to thank and the same things to say. I'd just said the opening words when my phone rang with the results. My wife and I went away to get the results and then when back outside. I made everyone sit through this long, drawn out speech before I told them the results. Then it was a bit of pandemonium really.

When I was very little, there were these toys called bug catchers and they were basically a plastic jar which had a plastic leaf in it. The idea was that the leaf would attract the bug and you'd put the lid over the top of the jar and you could study the bug. I mentioned I was a nerd. People thought this would be just up my alley for Christmas. By some miracle I caught a fly in this thing and I was very excited. Bryan let the fly go because he felt sorry for it being trapped. I was terribly upset.

Bryan's more the outdoorsman. He would not be happier than sitting on the side of a river white-baiting. We have gone cod fishing - that's something we do love doing together, and don't do it often enough. I'm a very poor but passionate golfer and Bryan's just a terrible golfer. Because he's no good at it, he therefore doesn't like it.

There are things we differ on but I think the core values of everybody having a fair go, everybody having a chance in life, is firmly firmly ingrained in both of us. We agree to disagree. On the odd occasion we might even go as far to to concede that the other one's right.

 - Sunday Magazine

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