Hello Waiatarua!

Yep, the last blast for 2016.  Time for a witty, heartfelt, slightly tired sounding, ever so frantic, but yet wise and considered reflection on the events of the year in our forest hideaway.  My best attempt at it anyway.

To kick off the WRRA year we did our best to make the AGM a highly entertaining and informative event.  I have to say that went pretty well with half the audience not wanting to leave as the late summer time dusk descended; we had to push them out into the night.  It might have had something to do with the amazing food from Lhara and the westy craft beers we cracked open.  Hard to tell; you’ll have to come along to the next AGM and find out.  February, for those asking.

At the AGM I had the honour of being party to the motion that we invest Carol, Grant and Helen Longley to a lifetime membership of the WRRA.  Their generous contributions of time and printing resource for the Waiatarua News over the years amounts to quite a chunk of coin and time.  We really appreciate this and the transition to the new owner of Longley print, who are still supporting us.

It took until March until our WRRA Committee had fully settled into position and champing at the bit to get things moving.  And they haven’t let up.  I need to thank each and every one of them, and their families for the the great work and effort they have devoted to maintaining, improving and representing Waiatarua for each and every ratepayer and resident.

Gary Ertel‘s energy and honest and open counsel as Vice President challenged and inspired me to stay on board for 2016 and Gary continues to be just a great person to work alongside.

Sue Bowers has done three years as Treasurer now and she’s got things well under control; always great to receive her consistent reports and valuable suggestions.

Nicole O’Sullivan stepped in this year as Secretary and has done a great job looking after the docs and setting up our agendas and recording what we agree; quite important yeah?.

Robyn O’Sullivan continued this year as Editor of the awesome Waiatarua News, always hitting the deadlines and curating the best content.

The www.waiatarua.org.nz website overhaul received so much positive feedback this year and whereas I’d been plotting and planning what it should contain for 2 years it was Lisa Phillips who really brought it to life; thanks Lisa!  It’s a great repository for the community that will continue to grow.

Michael D’Costa picked up the broadband portfolio and we rallied to ensure that Waiatarua was very well represented in the national case for the next UFB rollout as well as establishing FAST free internet to all WRRA members and visitors to the Community Centre and Waiatarua Library.

Rita Steel, and I still like to tell this story at dinner parties, gave birth to not only her first child but also the Waiatarua Weed Action Group on the same day (pretty much anyway).  To have someone on the WRRA Committee as passionate and dedicated to not losing the native greenery and the feathered friends around us is quite something.

It was fantastic working with Tric Andersen who was key to helping me assemble the superb debating teams that enabled us to resurrect The Great Waiatarua Debate.  Love ya work Tric!

Andrea Garnham helped with our events and really stepped up for the debate to make sure the hall looked amazing.

I have to thank Lhara, our covert committee member who reserves her energies as our catering consultant; the home made chocolate brownie for the debate desert and the attention to detail on the table settings still stand out (Did I mention the AGM feast?)

Last, and longest, Brett Whyte remains a highly valued committee member, still able to find time amongst his own work to provide timely design support and local historical knowledge that has on more than one occasion prevented us from repeating mistakes of the past.

I’m also going to mention John Goudge here; who’s been formally re-enaged as Community Centre custodian; WRRA do pay him, but his care and attention to the obligations to you and the wider community under our lease of the hall and library from the council would be difficult to replace.

That’s my close working team and who the WRRA would be nothing without; I thank you all for your support in 2016!

Outside the WRRA committee there are the librarians,  the newsletter deliverers, the quiz night leaders and volunteers, the debaters, the helpers in clean ups and other events, and all those who I’ve forgotten to mention.  On behalf of all of Waiatarua, Thanks! to you too.

So what’s up for 2017 in Waiatarua?

www.waiatarua.org.nz

We’ve designed the website as the main repository for current and historical information.  And when events pass they are still retained on the website for others to refer back to.  With Tony Bacon’s help we’ve finally started building a repository of ALL the Waiatarua News issues.  Can’t wait to see that happen!  But we really need someone, or people, who are keen to take regular care and add new content when it pops up.  If that sounds like you, or you’ve got a teenager who needs that sort of thing on their CV then let me know.

Transport

Roading and transport will always be an issue for us in Waiataura.  We established in 2016 that one of the biggest challenges is that as the national and global population increase continues its exponential climb there will be no wider roads in Waiatarua. More people will want to visit Piha and Karekare and we will see them on our roads.  This is going to be a long term significant challenge.

Broadband

We know where pressure needs to be maintained at a local and national level to get better broadband in Waiatarua.  But we could do with help from anyone who’s keen to head representation to obtain funding under the existing and planned government initiatives for better internet.  We are zoned as suburban, we enjoy the rural setting.  Waiatarua could easily get passed over for funding for better internet.  Can you, or do you know someone who wants to help us on this journey?

The Great Waiatarua Debate

So awesome to bring this back.  But it was a lot of work for a rather small group of us who had never done it before.  We know the tricks now, but if you enjoy organising events please get in touch early in 2017; we have a great team of helpers.

Drama

With some key members of the Waiatarua Drama Society moving away from the area we are not sure what the future holds.  But Black Adder was soooo goood.  If you want to be part of something like that, also, get in touch and we’ll put you in touch with the Drama crew.

Identity

This is my personal mission.  In 2009 after several years of really positive consultation with the Waitakere City Council the WCC published Local Area Plans for these parts.  Waiatarua was for the first time ever an agreed on ‘place’ with actual boundaries, albeit not ones that were nationally recognised.  But then the Super City amalgamation came along and much of this has been forgotten by Auckland Council.

When we make representations to Auckland City now they still don’t actually know what Waiatarua is, where it starts and where it stops!!!!!!!

It is my mission to make sure this great work is never lost.  I think the first step is to get Statistics New Zealand to adopt the boundaries that were agreed during local consultations and then the Council and other organisations will follow suit.

As it stands Oratia, for example, would be represented to Auckland Council as around 5,000 residents.  Waiatarua?  I know there are more people than that within the agreed boundary but no one else does.  How can we argue for more reliable power   supply, better internet, or better transport when we can’t pinpoint how many people live here?

Weeds, bloody weeds and pests

Amazing in 2016 to get the weed action group functioning and helping each other clean up our properties.  But we’re only as good as how many of us there are.  If you’d like to be part of keeping the most aggressive and invasive weeds at bay then please get in touch.  Or check out our website!

Wow; quite a few words there.  I hope some of you got to the end.  I really hope you all have a great Christmas and new year holiday.  Look forward to meeting more of you and working with many of you in 2017.

 

Peter Casey

President@waiatarua.org.nz