Longest-serving mayor recognised
She's been retired for five months, but people still come up to Frana Cardno thinking she's the mayor.
The former Southland mayor, and the mayor to have served the longest continuously in New Zealand, was honoured at Government House in Wellington today, officially becoming a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Retirement has not slowed Cardno down. The day before the investiture ceremony she was delivering a Save Fiordland petition opposing a proposed monorail to Parliament.
"I'm very busy – I don't know how I fitted in being mayor," she said, laughing.
She said she was "extremely proud" to receive her insignia and was "delighted" her family were there to support her.
Her son made the ceremony just in time, travelling all the way from the United States to be there.
Cardno, who led Southland District Council from 1992 until retiring in October last year, said it had been time for her to move forward.
She was confident the council was doing a "good job" without her.
"I step aside, because I think that it's not my job to watch them," she said.
"But I still get people who approach me, and I have people telling me, 'but you're still our mayor'.
"I say, 'hey, I'm not!"'
In addition to her work on the Fiordland Conservation Trust, Cardno said she planned to travel this year.
"It's good because I haven't had the freedom for a long time to do that."
While she was enjoying her new lifestyle, she would always keep Southland interests close to heart, she said.
"I'll always look at local government, I'll always look at the environment, and I learn from that about what we can have in Southland," she said.
"I never stop doing that."