Long service as mayor recognised

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 31/12/2013

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Former Southland District Council mayor Frana Cardno is to receive one of New Zealand's highest honours, but says the recognition is not just for her but for all the communities she has worked with.

Mrs Cardno has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government in the New Year honours.

She was New Zealand's longest continuously serving mayor, as the woman leading the Southland District Council from 1992 until retiring in October 2013.

"I'm overcome by it all really, of course I'm honoured and proud, but I share it with all of those I worked with," she said.

Mrs Cardno said it was the hard working, passionate communities who kept her committed to her work in local government.

"Although I took their battles to (central) government level, they are the people who I share this with," she said.

She has been recognised for her community contribution many times during her mayoralty, including receiving the Jean Harris Award for the development and progress of women in society, the United Nations Certificate as an outstanding woman in local government, and in 2001 was named a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services.

Mrs Cardno said her fight to have equal access to libraries for everyone in Southland was her starting point in local government.

"I'm passionate about democracy coming from the bottom up, and about communities helping themselves. That's what kept me going," she said.

A good example of a community coming together was the development of the Hump Ridge Track in Tuatapere.

"The amount of volunteer work that went into establishing the Hump Ridge Track was huge."

She was incredibly proud of the Shared Services Forum, where all southern councils collaborate.

"The way we work together is so important, in some areas (in New Zealand), some people don't even know who their local government representative is," she said.

Mrs Cardno said she planned to remain involved in the community.

"I'm still on the Fiordland Conservation Trust, and I'm working with Save Fiordland.

"I certainly will stay very involved with the things I'm passionate about, and will probably look for more things to get involved in when I'm home," she said.

She is on holiday in the United States with family and plans to celebrate her appointment while sitting on a beach in Florida.

 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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