Taupo chartered accountant, Pat Brown has been elected chairman of the Geyser Community Foundation.

He replaces inaugural chairman and well-known Rotorua businessman, Joe La Grouw, who has retired to spend more time on his other business commitments.

Mr Brown said he was honoured to have been elected chairman and looked forward to helping Geyser continue building up permanent endowment funds for the long term benefit of the Rotorua and Taupo district communities.

In acknowledging the enormous contribution Mr La Grouw had made to the community as chairman over the past eight years, Mr Brown said he did not believe that Geyser would exist today if it had not been for Mr La Grouw’s hard work, integrity and incredible generosity.

“The hardest part of any big project is to begin.  Joe’s leadership, knowledge and dedication have helped shape Geyser’s work and ensured we remain in touch with the communities we serve.”

Geyser currently manages funds of $3 million on behalf of its donors and local people have pledged an estimated $7 million to the community through Geyser in their wills.

Appointed by Rotorua Trust in 2007, Mr La Grouw was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order (CNZM) for services to business and the community in 2010, and will remain as a Trustee.

A chartered accountant, Mr Brown is a founding partner and consultant of Strettons Accountants, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has served on the Institute of Chartered Accountants Professional Conduct Committee.

Specialising in strategic planning, geothermal energy development, financing and management, he also has experience in the energy, communications and food sectors, and has worked with Maori trusts assisting them develop their resources.

A past chairman of Taupo Electricity and former director of TrustPower, Mr Brown has served as a Borough Councillor, is a Justice of the Peace and has been involved in a number of community organisations in Taupo, having lived there with his wife, Hilary for more than 40 years.

He was appointed to Geyser’s Board of Trustees by the Mayor of Taupo in 2012.