Andrea Jackson with Wairarapa-Bush chief executive Tony Hargood at Trust House Memorial Park. PHOTO/FILE
Andrea Jackson is delighted and says it’s a privilege to be appointed chief executive of the Manawatu Rugby Union.
In doing so, Jackson becomes the first woman to lead a top-flight provincial rugby union in New Zealand.
Jackson, 42, has been the Masterton District Council’s manager of community facilities and activities for five years and is a director on the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union board.
She said those roles had given her insight into the challenges of her new position.
“Working for local government is all about being connected to your community, and being on the WBRU board has given me an insight into the world of rugby administration, both challenges and opportunities,” she said.
“Community is key [and] building that connection and encouraging participation in rugby in the Manawatu at a community level is one of the challenges of the job.”
Manawatu Rugby chairman Tim Myers is rapt to have attracted a person of Jackson’s calibre.
“Her competencies, skills and her experience are what determined her appointment,” he said.
“We are certain that Andrea’s appointment will further inspire young women in our region, which is an added bonus.
“Andrea has a proven track record of successfully managing and leading people at an executive level, [and] upon her commencement, Andrea will be able to gain immediate traction in this area.
“Secondly, Andrea has wide-ranging experience with a diverse stakeholder base, from volunteers through to commercial partners.
“We feel very confident that Andrea is the change agent we need to make tangible progress relative to the objectives and aspirations we have as a union.”
Jackson is uncertain when she will take up the role but said the first steps will be getting to know and be part of the Manawatu community and building relationships with the staff, the board, and key partners.
“The job is really about creating a ‘one team’ culture from grassroots to the Turbos [men’s team] and Cyclones [women’s team].
“My job is to ensure the support is in place to enable people to perform on the field, whether that’s primarily for fun, or at a higher level.”
Jackson will move permanently to Manawatu, which was a requirement of the job, but said she would leave Masterton with a heavy heart.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Masterton District Council working for and with an amazing community that I am proud to call home,” she said.
“I have an outstanding team which have achieved some great things over the past five years – catching up on years on deferred maintenance to places such as the Queen Elizabeth Park grandstand, ACM building, upgrade of the Lido pool, toilets at Henley Lake, [and] new facilities such as the McJorrow Park playground, supporting a new netball facility, new toilets at Castlepoint and an increased focus on our parks and open spaces.
“Lastly and most importantly, the way we do council mahi with our community.”