New boss welcomes ‘superior structures’

Saturday February 22, 2020 Written by Published in Economy
To Tatou Vai’s new chief executive officer Greg Longman. 20022140 To Tatou Vai’s new chief executive officer Greg Longman. 20022140

Outgoing water chief ‘faced challenging issues not of his own making’.

A Queensland-based engineer is replacing Brent Manning as the next chief executive officer of Rarotonga’s water authority.

Greg Longman was introduced as the new head of the To Tatou Vai at its official launch in Takuvaine yesterday.

Manning, who joined the water authority in December 2018, stepped down last year for family reasons. He leaves the country next month.

According to Brian Mason, the chairman of To Tatou Vai board, the new chief executive brings an extensive knowledge on water and sanitation management in the South Pacific.

Apart from the civil engineering degree he gained at his home in the UK, Longman also has a management degree. Mason said the incoming water authority boss spent time in Vanuatu, Kiribati and Papua New Guinea, and possessed technical and practical knowledge in the field.

Longman’s previous jobs included negotiating with indigenous landowners on projects.

Longman said he was impressed with the infrastructure in place and commended his predecessor Brent Manning and the staff for achieving this.

“I have found the infrastructure already in place far superior to what I was imagining.”

Brent Manning said overseeing the establishment of To Tatou Vai had been “such an experience for me”.

The former South Taranaki District Council’s engineering services group manager said he enjoyed the support he received from the To Tatou Vai board and other stakeholders.

Manning established To Tatou Vai from scratch after taking up the role in late 2018. The authority now has 23 employees.

“We have achieved a lot of things already and but there is plenty more to be done. My greatest regret is I won’t be actually around to see that work through.”

Brian Mason earlier said Manning took on a challenging role and delivered.

“It’s not easy to get a person of Brent’s calibre. When Brent arrived there was nothing in place. He now has a full contingent of staff, premises and procedures in place which is going to make it easier for the new chief executive than it was for him when he arrived.

“Brent had faced some challenging issues which were not of his own making – the issues of liaising with landowners over the intakes and their management, the flocculation of the water, the public in regards to disinfection of the water and the charging of tariffs are huge ones and Brent has navigated a very challenging course.”

The To Tatou Vai launch was attended by Prime Minister Henry Puna and his deputy Mark Brown, along with other Cabinet ministers and MPs. The Opposition MPs were absent.

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