Twenty years in the job of local expertise

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If you need to know anything about Clutha, you only need to ask Angela “Ange” Anderson.

She was presented with an award by Mayor Bryan Cadogan at a council meeting last week in recognition of more than 20 years of service at the Balclutha based iSite, and she said it had never felt like work.

“I absolutely love my job. You never know what the next question will be .. I get to tell our visitors about our beautiful district.”

Unlike other iSITEs, the Balclutha-based one combined a tourist helpdesk with a council services drop in, and Mrs Anderson said a highlight of her job was dealing with the local community.

“We do rates, civil defence services, dog registrations .. I grew up with many of these people. They know me and trust me.”

But she equally enjoyed what she called “the diversity of our visitors”, as out-of-town and international visitors making frequent use of the facility.

“Even in the internet age, they still like to come and talk to a real person .. and they still want hard copy information. We mark out maps of the Catlins and other places for them.”

She said she took a lot of satisfaction in helping newcomers discover “hidden gems” of the district, such as the Tuapeka Punt.

However, the job had not come without its difficulties. Mrs Anderson said over the past few years the iSITE had been confronted with the freedom camping issue.

“We’re often educating people who don’t know where the boundaries are.”

The Clutha native was born in Lawrence, then moved to Balclutha when she was 6 months old, and has since raised her own children in the town.

Mrs Anderson had previous experience working for council before the iSITE, but since starting this job, she had never thought of leaving.

“No, not at all. I haven’t spotted another job I’d like to do more. No day is the same.”