Mayor's Column for April 2017

Tuesday, 04 April 2017

Welcome to this month’s column.

One of our big days of the year has come and gone and was as successful as ever. A large crowd enjoyed the Muster, in perfect weather and great spirits. It was also great to host Prime Minister Bill English on his first visit to our district as PM (he attended our NZ Shears in 2002). The PM had a great time mixing and mingling with the public, and enjoyed catching up with Sir Colin and Stan Meads, and also with former PM Jim Bolger and his wife Joan late on Saturday afternoon, after presenting some Awards at the NZ Shears.

We also hosted Taranaki King-Country MP Barbara Kuriger, and her husband Louis, and the French Ambassador Florence JeanBlanc-Risler.

France is the next host of the World Shearing Champs in 2019, so the Ambassador attended as she has taken a keen interest in shearing, and the NZ Shearing community.

I received great feedback from the PM, and the Ambassador on what a fantastic event we put on in the form of the Muster, Running of the Sheep, and the NZ Shearing Champs. 

In the PM’s words “This is NZ rural heartland at its very best.”

Thank You

To all associated with the weekend’s events, I want to personally offer a huge thank you. The sheer number of volunteers who put a huge number of hours into the organising and running of the Shearing Champs and Sheep Run is quite remarkable and says a lot about the pride in our district. Thank you to all involved in making this event so appealing to large crowds of visitors. These events have been running for over 30 years (Shearing Champs) and 23 years (Sheep Run) which is remarkable, and shows the benefit of focussing on providing an innovative “Entertainment” spectacle.

Saturday’s Muster marked the last WDC event organised by our “retiring” Community Development Officer Donna MacDonald. Donna will continue working for WDC, but no longer in the Community space. Cloudy Ngatai has taken on Donna’s role, and we welcome her to WDC.

Donna has been organising WDC-run events over the past five years or so, and I know you will agree has done a fantastic job. From Christmas Parades, ITO Graduation ceremonies, Citizen’s Awards, Balloon’s visit to Te Kuiti, and Musters… you name it, Donna has been at the forefront of the successful running of our events and leaves no stone unturned in making sure everything is just right.

Thank you, Donna, on behalf of the whole community, for the outstanding contribution you have made to the vibrancy of our district.

Governor General Visit

We look forward to welcoming the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to the North King Country for a three-day visit.

They have a full schedule and will be meeting with a broad range of stakeholders from Otorohanga, Waitomo, and Ruapehu districts. Let’s hope the weather holds, as the forecast doesn’t sound great!

Sir Colin Statue

It was great to catch up with Sir Colin, Lady Verna, and Stan Meads at the NZ Shearers corporate event on Friday. They were in great form, and Sir Colin is looking well.

The Legendary Te Kuiti (LTK) committee’s project is on track for the proposed launch event in June. I visited the Statue creator Natalie Stamilla in Auckland last week and saw the progress of the statue, which is looking excellent.

The LTK committee is very busy fundraising and planning for this event, which coincides with the British and Irish Lion Rugby Tour. Thank you to all of you who have made pledges of help fund this project. For those of you who are considering it, I encourage your support of this one-of-a-kind attraction for visitors to our district and region - the benefits will be significant.