February Mayoral Column

February Mayoral Column


The schools are back, the kids are learning and those parents with children at school will be back in the familiar pattern of school lunches, transporting boisterous children to varying activities and adjusting to life without kids at home.

It is great to see some new businesses in town both in industry, entertainment and retail. The mini golf and batting range by the domain has certainly proven to be a big hit. The mini golf course is one of the most challenging and entertaining courses I have played on and thoroughly recommend taking the family there for a fun time out. Also notable is the establishment of new eateries and in the last year the return of a jewellery store to Otorohanga. Having a thriving main street patronised by both locals and tourists continues to demonstrate what a wonderful small town Otorohanga is. Kawhia also cemented itself as a fun tourist destination with the annual kai moana festival, held on a beautiful sunny day. It certainly was a sight to savour.

The beginning of the calendar year has also been a time for me to select a young leader or Rangitahi for the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Leadership programme known as TUIA. This programme involves local Mayors selecting young Maori from their district to mentor on a one-to-one basis. The leadership development programme is a long term, intentional, intergenerational approach to develop the leadership capacity of young Maori in communities throughout New Zealand. Sharing this kaupapa or journey with their peers from throughout New Zealand creates an even greater opportunity to develop and demonstrate this leadership. I have chosen 2 Rangitahi for 2015, they are Tori Koroheke and Eru Taane. I am looking forward to our journey throughout the year as we share our experiences and learn off each other discussing intergenerational issues, cultural values and experiences.

As mentioned in my last column council staff are extremely busy developing our Long Term Plan and Asset Management Plan as are all council staff throughout New Zealand. I also will be kept very busy during the next few weeks as I listen to and deliberate over submissions on the draft Waikato Regional Land Transport Plan. This plan sets the strategic direction of land transport in the Waikato Region over the next 30 years. When considering infrastructure, be it roading or underground pipes, a 30 year plan enables councils to develop strategies to manage risk with more clarity than was achievable with a 10 year plan that was the requirement until this year.

Take care and watch for our children while travelling around our schools.

Nga mihi, kind regards,

Max Baxter