Mayoral Column May 2022
Sometimes the work we do as councillors and representatives of the community can happen in the background and not always be clear and obvious unless you work closely with councils or local government. Being a mayor is not all cutting ribbons and wearing mayoral chains!
I just wanted to shine some light on a few of the interesting roles that we have as councillors here in Ōpōtiki.
Between the councillors and mayor, we sit on a number of community committees as part of our roles as elected members.
For example, Cr Barry Howe is on the Rural Travel Fund for Sports. Part of SportNZ, the fund is designed to help subsidise travel for rural junior teams aged between 5-18 years, removing the barrier of travel cost so they can compete in regular sporting competition.
Cr Debi Hocart and I sit on Ōpōtiki’s Creative Communities Scheme (Debi is the Chair). This scheme is a partnership between Council and Creative NZ and is there is support and encourage local arts activities. We just issued almost $16k for creative projects in our District in the next six months. Keep an eye out for each round of funding when it opens.
Councillors Steve Nelson and David Moore both sit on the Waioeka Otara River Scheme Advisory group bringing community and council views to the regional council table. And I do the same for the Ōhiwa Harbour Implementation Forum.
Cr Hocart also sits on the De Luxe Theatre Trust as an elected member. This community theatre has had a proud place in our town since it opened in 1926 and is run by a dedicated team of volunteers and trustees.
I also Chair the Ōpōtiki Community Health Trust which has just designated $36,600 in scholarships to Ōpōtiki locals involved in Health and Science studies.
I am sure I speak for other council members when I say it is a real privilege to sit alongside so many other community-minded people on these boards and committees. Each has a passion and purpose and all contribute in some way to improving our local communities.
I would encourage locals who haven’t considered volunteering in some form to give it a go. You can volunteer for any of our numerous groups that do so much good in the community. Coastguard, St Johns, the volunteer fire brigade, sports clubs and charities, hapu and marae committees, service organisations like Rotary and the Lions, community facilities like De Luxe Theatre and the Museum, church groups and mentoring. Each have benefits for our community and also provide new friends and social opportunities.
And if you know amazing people in the community that you want to recognise in some way, there are lots of ways we can acknowledgement the hard work of our volunteers. For example, I know that the Minister of Health Volunteer Awards are closing soon so look into those if you know someone doing the work in that area.