Business Leaders

Pro Q&A – Doug Tate

CHB is not the sleepy part of Hawke’s Bay any longer and under the combined leadership of for chief executive Monique Davidson and Mayor Alex Walker, the district has overcome many challenges to bring its THRIVE vision to life. Doug Tate has been part of that journey as the council’s group manager of customer and community partnership but with Monique heading home to the CE role with Horowhenua District Council, the council wisely promoted from within.

Doug is ready to continue with the hard work and build on the momentum of Monique’s legacy.

Where are you from?

Levin is where I was brought up and where Mum and Dad still are. Before heading over to Hawke’s Bay in 2018 we were in the Manawatū.

What is your career background?

Local government has been where I’ve really made my career. After finishing university in the middle of the global financial crisis, I worked for a short time with Dad – who is a builder – and was lucky enough to fall into local government. Since then, I’ve had nearly 20 years of working across just about every aspect of local government.

Why do you think is it great that an appointment has been made from within the organisation?

It demonstrates that the deliberate leadership position taken when developing Project Thrive in 2017,that of focusing on people as our District’s greatest assets, is paying off.

What do you see as the benefits of promoting from within?

In this instance it is allowing us to continue with the momentum and mana that we’ve established over the last few years, enabling a quick transition, and allowing me to build on the existing local and regional relationships we have.

Has your career journey being about aiming for a chief executive role?

Leading in local government has always for me been about achieving outstanding outcomes for the communities we serve. The opportunity to lead and serve in Central Hawke’s Bay as Chief Executive is about timing and being the right person to contribute to a thriving Central Hawke’s Bay.

Describe your leadership style?

Others have described me as authentic, genuine, collaborative and visionary. Personally I’d like to think that the teams I lead and the communities I serve are better off for me being part of them.

What did you learn under the former CE Monique Davidson?

Monique and I share very similar values, particularly around the unique role of local government and the spirit of public service – others before self. This speaks very much to what we have achieved as a team. The simple advice of always backing yourself is probably my biggest takeaway from Monique.

You have a young senior management team, are you all up for the challenge?

I’ll take young! Age is just a number – it’s ultimately the skill, curiosity, passion and commitment that you bring which will determine your success Being one of only two Councils in New Zealand to achieve the highest awarded CouncilMARK ranking of AA in 2021, up three grades from our 2018 assessment, tells me we are on the right track.

Monique and Mayor Alex formed a strong partnership, what do you see as different to how you will work well with Alex and councillors?

I’m fortunate to have already been part of the unique governance and management relationship we’ve had over the last three years. Our relationship will be different, but I’m confident we’ve got a solid base to work from.

What are the big challenges you see in the role over the next 3-5 years?

Leading through the multitude of unprecedented government reform programmes and unprecedented growth are our key challenges, but both present unique opportunities for us to positively place Central Hawke’s Bay in a position of strength for the future.

If you were to pitch CHB as a place to live, work and play to a business owner considering relocating to the area, what would you say?

The secret that is Central Hawke’s Bay is out – the District is experiencing a surge of optimism, positivity and growth not seen since the 1960s. Come and be part of the next generation of business and community leaders who understand the value and potential of this community as we work to build a thriving Central Hawke’s Bay for the future.

How in your CE role can you place a focus on enabling business to proper within CHB?

We’ve already got a solid platform and understanding of what we need to collectively achieve to see business succeed in the long-term. This isn’t just one thing, it’s about us staying the course on the varied work programmes that we have underway from continuing to deliver a reliable transport network that supports the backbone of our rural economy, enabling housing in the district or continuing to fill local support gaps for business with programmes like our Jobs in Central Hawke’s Bay initiative.

As a collective of Councils across Hawke’s Bay what can you collectively work on in the next 12 months?

There are some natural synergies and things already outlined in the five Councils Triennial Agreement where there are existing and emerging regional opportunities. Housing, Transport and enhancing social inclusivity are some of those.

You are the new CE within our local Councils, how do you see the 5 of you working together?

The regional partnership at CE level is strong and collegial. All four Chief Executives attended my mihi whakatau on my first day, which gives a great indication for how we continue to work in a collaborative way for the region and respective communities we serve.

What do you do in your spare time?

Weekends are usually spent out on the Tukituki Trails on the bike or on the sidelines of the ripper rugby field with the boys. Three children under 6 keeps me busy!