Employment Matters

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May 2002, Volume 13, Number 5

Teamwork Wins Over

When a small group of Waikari residents got together and decided they needed to do something to revive community spirits, they had to work hard to ignore the voices of the knockers...

“There were people who said it wouldn’t work -- it had been tried before,” says Gateway to the Hurunui Lakes Promotion Group member Millie Matthews. “There was a lack of self esteem, with people believing that good things like festivals happened somewhere else. We just kept believing in ourselves and working together as a team.”

The result was a stunningly successful festival to officially open the Weka Pass Railway. The festival drew 1800 people and featured the community in local media.

The opening was 120 years late, as the line was never officially opened in 1882. The passenger service later ceased running. The Weka Pass Railway Society was set up to preserve the steam trains used in the area, and now runs regular excursion trips.

The idea of officially launching the railway was developed in conjunction with the railway society. Visitors and locals turned up in period costume, and the day included a re-enactment of the railway opening, bands, children’s entertainment, more than 50 stalls and a banquet dinner and dance.

“The feedback was great. It really brought people together. We started out with nothing, but were convinced that if we ran a quality event people would come. If we can just keep building on this, people will begin to take pride in our community again and things can begin happening,” says Millie.

Community Employment Group fieldworker Piet Vink, who provided support and advice to the event, says he was impressed with the commitment the group showed to making the event work, as well as its overall commitment to revitalising the community. They have put lessons learned from other communities into practice in their own community.

Lyndon Matthews, who is part of the promotion group and who recently completed the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme, says the festival was a significant achievement in a move towards reviving the community.

The group will soon begin working on its next big project -- encouraging community involvement in establishing a village green.

Other stories about Festivals:
Pacific Showcase - Pacific Underground (February 2001)
Celebrating Its Past - Celebration Lyttelton Trust (October 2000)
Mini Festival Brings Samoan Community Together - Ministers' Fraternal Group (June 2000)
Fantastic Week for Rural Women - Positively Clutha Women (June 2000)
Entries Sought - Wastebusters Trust Canterbury (May 2000)
Floral Attraction - Fefine Fekumi (April 2000)
A 'Brilliant' Performance - Aotearoa Traditional Maori Performing Arts Festival (March 2000)
A Blooming Good Time - Inglewood Crossroads Promotions (March 2000)
Picton Fizzing - Picton Urban Design (January 2000)
Cavalcade Rolls into Middlemarch Community - Middlemarch Community (March 2002)
Festival Keeps Getting Better - Pasifika (March 2002)
Celebrating Diversity - Enterprise Otara (October 1999)
Festivities Bring Tokelau Community Together - CEG (April 2002)
'Most Beautiful Place in the World' Sees the Light - Barney Whaitiri (March 1999)
Street's Ahead - Cuba Street Carnival Collective Trust (July 2002)
Festival Booms - Pasifika (March 2003)
Festival Raises the Profile of Lawrence - Lawrence Summer Arts Festival (March 2003)
Entertainment and Colour - Cuba Street Carnival Trust (January 2004)
Providing Opportunities - Pasifika (July 2004)
Bold, Outrageous, Wild - Central South Island Tourism (December 2004)
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)
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)
Real Kiwi Town - Eketahuna Mainstreet Inc (December 2004)
Millie and Lyndon Matthews
Westend, Waikari, R D, North
Canterbury, Phone/fax (03) 314 4562
email: lyndon.matthews@xtra.co.nz

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