Media release: Survey planned to seek views on name for Te Anau reserve

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A survey is underway for the next three weeks to gauge the views of the Te Anau community regarding the naming of the reserve on Fergus Square.

Southland District Mayor Gary Tong said Council had received feedback from some members of the public opposing a decision made by the Te Anau Community Board in 2018 to name the space Cardno Reserve in honour of long-serving former mayor Frana Cardno, who lived on the street until her death in 2015.

Mrs Cardno CNZM QSO JP served as Mayor of Southland District from 1992 until 2013, becoming the longest-serving female mayor in New Zealand's history.

Seeking to honour Mrs Cardno, the board was initially approached by a member of the public in 2018 who had informally engaged with the Cardno family, others in the community and residents of Fergus Square and had their support.

“Given the reserve has never been named, members of the community board followed the correct process here and had the right intentions for the community they are chosen to represent,” Mayor Tong said.

“It has since come to light some feel the reserve should not have been named so we want to ensure everyone has the chance to have a say. We will also be talking with the runanga to find out their views and recommendations.

“We look forward to hearing from all members of the public and then the board will make a decision about naming the reserve.”

Hard copy surveys will be available in the Te Anau library and Council office, along with Paper Plus, Fiordland Pharmacy, Fresh Choice and the Photo Centre. The survey will be available online at

The official opening of a memorial to the life of Mrs Cardno erected in the reserve has since been postponed.

“This is a stunning tribute to Frana which captures her love of art, colour and nature. Frana’s commitment to her community and our District was unwavering and I believe it’s appropriate to honour her in this way,” Mayor Tong said.

“The memorial is designed so visitors and future generations will know the impact Frana had during her tenure. Careful decisions were made to ensure it fitted into the environment.

“Frana was an inspirational leader and staff who worked alongside her were passionate about telling how she always went above and beyond for the people of Southland, and particularly Fiordland.”

Mayor Tong, who succeeded Mrs Cardno, paid for the memorial from his mayoral budget, which included site preparation and the creation and installation of the signs and pillars, seating and reserve sign. The cost was about $15,000.

The project has been a collaborative effort by SDC staff together with the Cardno family and friends. The wood for the seats came from her husband Murray’s man shed and was donated by their son Paul, while the totems feature a special collection of photos which were Mrs Cardno’s favourite images.

Te Anau prompted Mrs Cardno’s first foray into politics when she lobbed for a library in the town. It sparked a 35-year contribution that initially included 11 years on the Te Anau Community Board.

Committed to serving her community, she devoted her time to a variety of local organisations including Community Trust South, Venture Southland, the Regional Identity Southland Trust and the Women's Refuge Trust; and was presented with the Rotary Jean Harris Award for Otago-Southland for Leadership for Women.

In 2001, Mrs Cardno was awarded a Queen’s Service Order for public services and a United Nations Certificate of Recognition to recognise her as an outstanding woman in local government.

She received the Local Government New Zealand Excellence Award for outstanding contribution to local government and was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to local government in the 2014 New Year honours.

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