Employment Matters

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December 2004, Volume 15, Number 11

Real Kiwi Town

Fish and chips have proved their worth as a community planning attraction in the small town of Eketahuna...

More than 60 local residents turned out to take part in a fish and chip evening outlining the Our Town concept.

“We realised we needed to crank up interest and enthusiasm in local revitalisation and broaden out from the Mainsteet project we had been involved with,” says Eketahuna Mainstreet Incorporated Society chairman John Harman.

Our Town is a series of tools and procedures which help a community in developing and achieving its goals.

John says the Our Town concept involves seeing the wider community and its natural and developed resources as important in attracting and retaining visitors.

The public meeting, which was organised with support and advice from the Community Employment Group, hosted speakers on Our Town from Auckland and the community of Featherston (which is undertaking the concept).

“People had a chance to fill in forms about what they saw as our strengths and weaknesses.”

Replies were collated and condensed into a format presented at a second public meeting. Those who had expressed an interest in taking the concept forward formed a steering committee and work is beginning on a series of projects.

The first involves upgrading existing town signage and creating a new sign that reflects some of the town’s unique attributes.
John says that a large kiwi in the centre of town often attracts visitors who stop to take photographs, so a theme is to be established around a “real Kiwi town”.

A new sign in the shape of a kiwi will be erected two kilometres from town, with snippets about some of the local attractions such as the Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre and a local model railway.

Other attractions include walkways, hunting and bush.

“All these things help bring people into town and have spinoffs for everyone, including local homestays,” says John.

Middleton Model Railway owner Colin Fraser-Davies says that Eketahuna is “ripe for tourism development. People visiting our business often combine it with Eketahuna township, the National Wildlife Centre or the Pioneer Museum at Mount Bruce. Each attraction serves to increase the appeal of the district and makes it a more viable destination for trippers.”

CEG fieldworker Mike Grace says the wine trail route from Hawkes Bay to Wellington that passes through Eketahuna also offers opportunities for the town, which has demonstrated its ability to make things happen.

“Eketahuna is a community with true grit. It recently survived the potentially devasting impact of losing its petrol station by working together as a community and eventually raising sufficient capital to buy its own and secure the economic heart of the town.

“This is a truly impressive achievement for such a small community.”

Pictured: Children check out the Middleton Model Railway 9km south of Eketahuna at its official opening earlier this year.
CONTACT: fraser-davies@infogen.net.nz

Other stories about Mainstreet Projects:
Right Time, Right Place - Mainstreet Wanganui (September 1999)
Other stories about Revitalisation:
Stick to the Vision - Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust (June 2001)
Nobody Somebody Everybody - He Iwi Kotahi Tatou Trust (September 2001)
Multiple Benefits from Work in Okains Bay - Te Waipounamu Wharekauri Trust (September 2001)
Promoting Small Town Renewal - A Kit for Small Town Renewal (October 2001)
Following a Dream - Whakaki Lake Trust (February 2001)
Back on Track - Kawakawa On Track (February 2001)
A Greener South - South Coast Environment Centre (February 2001)
New Approach to Sustainability - Buller Community Development Company (April 2000)
A Blooming Good Time - Inglewood Crossroads Promotions (March 2000)
Community Bank Attracts Interest - Palmerston Gateway to Gold Service Facility (March 2000)
Lights, Camera, Action, Jobs - Canterbury Film and Television Services (January 2000)
Picton Fizzing - Picton Urban Design (January 2000)
Developing a Community Blueprint - Hinepukohurangi Trust (December 1999)
Growing Momentum - GROW (November 1999)
Communities Take Control - Cheviot Promotions Group (October 1999)
Common Goal - Te Mahurehure Marae Cultural Society Incorporated (May 2002)
Teamwork Wins Over - Hurunui Lakes Promotion Group (May 2002)
Fun Ho at Inglewood Thanks to Community Enterprise - Fun Ho National Toy Museum (June 1999)
Trolling Around - Mike Stone (March 1999)
Door Knocking Finds Part Time Jobs - Hauraki Enterprise Agency (March 1999)
Growing a Forest Park - Milnthorpe Park Society (August 2002)
Safety in Design - Tracey Pomare (September 2002)
Forest Restoration Provides Win-Win - Tere Te Kawa (December 2002)
Piece of Happiness - Tamumu Trust (December 2002)
Attracting Visitors to Te Aroha - Future Te Aroha (January 2003)
Resource for Everyone - Borland Lodge (January 2003)
Steaming Into The Future - Hooterville Heritage Charitable Trust (May 2003)
Sprouting Forth - Dargaville Community Gardens Trust (June 2003)
Seeing the Light - ITP Reefton Promotions (August 2003)
Creating Access - Kauri Coast Development Board (September 2003)
Taking the High Road - Selwyn District Council (August 2004)
John Harman
Eketahuna Mainstreet Incorporated Society
Norlings Road R D 3
Phone (06) 375 8470
Fax (06) 375 8474
email: jaharman@xtra.co.nz

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