Gore District Council’s new chief financial officer is a true, blue Southlander come home.
Twenty-five years or more after she left Southland, Lornae Straith is back working in Gore about half an hour from where she grew up in Woodlands.
Ms Straith said she was glad to be back in Southland.
”It brings me closer back to family,” Mrs Straith said.
”I don’t think you ever lose the love for Southland.”
She is a Southland Stags fan and, despite being in Otago many years, still supports the team even if it is playing Otago.
”The passion for Southland still comes out.”
After attending Woodlands Primary School and then James Hargest College, Ms Straith completed a bachelor of commerce honours degree at the University of Otago.
Once she left university, she worked for an accounting firm in Dunedin before going overseas to England where she lived and worked in Manchester for four years.
”I enjoyed my time over there.”
However, when a policeman was killed on the street where she was living, she decided it was time to come home.
She settled in Dunedin and, after another short stint at an accounting firm, landed a job at the university.
She worked in various roles including internal auditor, project accountant and business manager.
”I have had a lot of weird and wonderful jobs while at the University of Otago.
”I’m sort of a go-to, fix-it kind of person.”
After 14 years, she decided it was time to ”stretch my wings”.
The new role had been a learning curve for her but she was fortunate to be part of a supportive team.
”It’s stepping into a really interesting time with year-end annual report and long-term planning coming up so it’s going to be a fantastic challenge.”
In her younger days, Ms Straith was a keen sportswoman.
”I played rugby and netball for Woodlands.”
She also followed the motorcycle grand prix circuit.
”It’s the equivalent to Formula One but for motorbikes.”
Fishing and whitebaiting were two other interests.
Ms Straith believed she did not fit the stereotype people usually had of accountants.
”I’m not your average accountant.
”I definitely break the mould.”