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Media releases from Kawerau District Council

Inaugural youth event supports canoe slalom nationals

March 29, 2017 

A fun event in Kawerau next month will add an extra element to the annual Canoe Slalom New Zealand National Championships.

The FLOWQUEST Fun Day 2017 is a free interactive family fun festival being organised by the town’s youth council. It is on April 15 and will run alongside the slalom event, on from April 14-17. FLOWQUEST Fun Day will give people attending the slalom event a chance to enjoy great family entertainment.

A highlight will be a Youth Café, which offers young people a safe space to meet and share ideas, and potentially gain hospitality and business skills while serving the community. This initiative may lead to the establishment of a permanent youth café; developing such a space is one of the actions laid out in the new Kawerau Youth Strategy.

Other activities include a Giant Easter Hunt, a Nerf War and a Mega Inflatable City and obstacle course provided by Funworks.

In the Easter hunt, painted rocks and stones will be hidden in a closed area. Participants will compete to find and as many as they can in 20 minutes. They can then trade their stones for a small Easter egg. Special stones will be painted different colours and will account for a large Easter egg, and there will be a giant chocolate egg for whoever finds the rare glass black stone.

The Nerf War will feature 10 Capture the Flag games. Briefing and rules will be announced before every game. Each team keeps a flag near their ‘base’. The aim of the game is to take another team’s flag and bring it back to your base. Games have a 20-minute time limit. All Nerf equipment will be provided.

The FLOWQUEST Fun Day event is designed to attract a large number of Kawerau residents, as well as people from the wider Eastern Bay and outside the region. Kawerau District Council youth projects co-ordinator JJ Rika says organisers are expecting a large turn-out to the event, with 70 percent of them children.

“Many people are likely to flow over from the National Canoe Slalom Competition running adjacent to the festival,” he says. “FLOWQUEST Fun Day promises to be a fantastic event and we’re really looking forward to it.”

FLOWQUEST Fun Day is on April 15, from 10am-3pm at the Waterhouse St Reserve.

 

Council to keep i-SITE in-house

March 3, 2017

Kawerau’s i-SITE is now permanently under in-house council management.

It has been run in-house since October 2016, when council took over the management from an external contractor. This arrangement was to be reviewed in October this year. The decision to review the operation was brought forward due to the fact significant progress had been achieved with the centre since council brought it in-house in October 2016. This progress included achieving i-SITE membership very quickly and a considerable refurbishment of the building, which is almost complete.

“The i-SITE and its staff have received numerous positive comments from the community and visitors and continue to develop close relationships with other i-Sites,” council economic and community development manager Glenn Sutton says.

“The centre is increasingly pivotal in promoting Kawerau and has an important role in delivering Council’s strategies for marketing and growing the district. It was therefore appropriate the review was brought forward so we could build on this early success.”

The review was also brought forward due to the fact all centre staff were on fixed–term employment agreements, most of which were due to expire at the end of March.

“To ensure the continuity of quality service that the i-SITE’s team currently provides, it was of huge advantage to council that we give staff a degree of long-term job security and confidence by establishing their roles as permanent positions.”

Council approved the recommendation at a meeting earlier this week, and the move cements the organisation’s approach for utilising the i-SITE as a key tool for encouraging growth in Kawerau. 

“Councillors were very complimentary of the i-SITE, particularly the quality of service the team are providing the public,” Glenn says.

The i-SITE and its staff have also received numerous positive comments from the community and visitors.

Another benefit of the i-SITE is its growing contribution to supporting community activities and events, for example the Kawerau community wall inside the centre. This wall displays a stunning picture of the Ruranga Stream, and features brochures on local businesses, groups and activities as well as cards for local businesses. 


Urban Food Forest project gets under way

February 28, 2017

Kawerau’s Urban Food Forest (KUFF) project launched in February and will become a source of fresh produce for everyone.

The project will see thousands of fruit and nut trees, berries and herbs planted in the Monika Lanham Reserve. People can help themselves to the produce at no charge. A nursery and glasshouse will be built and workshops held on seed gathering and sowing, and a community garden planted to provide fresh vegetables year-round.

“The long-term goal is to plant more fruit, berry and nut trees around all the reserves in Kawerau,” KUFF project co-ordinator Hannah Edwardson says. “We want to enable Kawerau locals to help themselves to fresh food from the reserve just as they would from a supermarket.”

The project is largely thanks to funding support from Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Environmental Enhancement Fund (EEF), which contributed $20,000.

“We really appreciate the regional council’s support,” Hannah says. “It’s a fantastic community initiative and we couldn’t do it without the generosity of our partners. We’re really excited the project is fully under way.”

Regional council EEF co-ordinator Eddie Sykes says the Kawerau Urban Food Forest project is a great example of a community-driven idea that will enrich people’s lives and increase their sense of wellbeing.

“Our vision is to raise environmental awareness and use the enthusiasm and skills of the community. Enabling communities such as Kawerau to share fresh, healthy food is a way of bringing people together and building stronger neighbourhood networks.

“EEF – and the regional council - is delighted to support this project. We hope other Bay of Plenty towns will be inspired to follow Kawerau’s example.”

The KUFF launch went really well, with 50 people attending and volunteering to help, Hannah says.

“Everyone was excited by the project. “There’s a job for everyone somewhere, whether it’s digging a hole or helping out in the nursery, and we hope this project will involve every person in Kawerau.”

Fireworks spectacular returns to Kawerau

December 12, 2016 

Fireworks are back at this year’s Kawerau Christmas in the Park after a two-year break.

The 2015 event featured a laser show rather than the usual fireworks spectacular after dry weather meant the New Zealand Fire Service couldn’t authorise the display. Different weather conditions mean the organisation has approved it this year

Event organisers are delighted fireworks will once again be permitted.

“The fireworks finale has been a highlight of Christmas in the Park in previous years,” Kawerau District Council events and venues manager Lee Barton says. “Having it back on the schedule this year means we can round off the Christmas celebration in style.

“Thanks to the Fire Service for all the advice and support around the event.”

Kawerau Christmas in the Park is on December 17. It kicks off at 11am with the New World Kawerau Santa parade, starting (and finishing) at the Ron Hardie Recreation Centre. A prize-giving will be held at Prideaux Park at 12.30pm.

The Radio 1XX Community Christmas Concert follows the parade at 1pm, with the evening variety show running from 7-10pm, concluding with the fireworks. Ardijah, Beau Monga, the Yandall Sisters and local acts Made Alive and Nikau Chater are in the musical line-up. For full details visit www.kawerauchristmasinthepark.co.nz.

Kawerau's Christmas in the Park is the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s showcase festive entertainment event and organisers encourage locals and visitors to come along. The event is family-friendly – drugs, alcohol and gang regalia are not permitted. Prideaux Park is a smoke-free venue.

Evening acts announced for Kawerau Christmas in the Park

December 5, 2016 

Composer and pianist Carol Doy, Kiwi rhythm and blues band Ardijah, singer/beatboxer Beau Monga (2015 NZ X Factor winner), soul singer Whirimako Black and kapa haka group Toka Tu will wow audiences at this year’s Kawerau Christmas in the Park on Saturday, December 17.

Special guests the Yandall Sisters will also grace the stage.

The evening variety show will again be directed by Chris Powley, a veteran performer who has sung alongside John Rowles, Sir Howard Morrison, Leo Sayer and Bonnie Tyler, among others. Well-known entertainer Frankie Stevens will MC the evening. Frankie has been singing and acting for more than 30 years and has performed all over the world.

Kawerau District Council events and venues manager Lee Barton says it’s great to secure such high-profile acts for this year’s event.

“Kawerau Christmas in the Park attracts people from all over the Eastern Bay, as well as from outside the Bay of Plenty, and it offers something for everyone. We’re delighted to have Chris involved for a second year and look forward to what promises to be a fantastic event for all the family.”

“This is an amazing line-up that will cater for all interests and age groups.”

A 20sq m screen will ensure all spectators can fully enjoy the range of acts. The evening variety show runs from 7-10pm on December 17.

Organisers are working alongside the New Zealand Fire Service and Van Tiel Pyrotechnics to deliver the firework display, which, if confirmed will add to this incredible evening show line-up.  An announcement is expected during event week.

Kawerau Christmas in the Park is the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s showcase festive entertainment event and organisers encourage locals and visitors to come along. The event is family-friendly – drugs, alcohol and gang regalia are not permitted. Bag searches may take place at the venue entrances. Prideaux Park is a smoke-free venue.

For more information visit www.kawerauchristmasinthepark.co.nz.

 

Commercial driving training plans under way

November 30, 2016

Commercial driver and distribution training may be introduced in Kawerau to help people into employment.

Industrial Symbiosis Kawerau plans to offer training courses, in partnership with Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, following a recent visit to the latter’s Tokoroa campus where similar programmes are already in place. These courses include a certificate in commercial road transport and a national certificate in distribution.

Kawerau District Council economic and community development manager Glenn Sutton says many businesses are struggling to find skilled drivers as the existing workforce in that field is ageing.

"There is a clear need for young people to develop these skills so they can meet the employment needs of such businesses. The introduction of this initiative will be a strategic move for the Kawerau district and one that will also benefit the wider Bay of Plenty, particularly with the container terminal project nearing completion and potentially growing industry in the region.”

The level of interest from local industry and possible training locations are currently being assessed. 

Family-friendly Kawerau Christmas in the Park

November 29, 2016 

This year’s Kawerau Christmas in the Park will feature top local acts Made Alive, soloist Nikau Chater, The Hine Kingi band, Zumba Fitness, Putauaki Primary School kapa haka and TJ Taotua (Auckland-based rhythm and blues line-up), with more acts to be announced.

These acts will perform in the Radio 1XX Community Christmas Concert, at Prideaux Park from 1pm on Saturday, December 17.

Kawerau Christmas in the Park kicks off at 11am, with the New World Kawerau Santa Parade. Starting from the Ron Hardie Recreation Centre, the parade will do two laps of town before ending at Prideaux Park. The prize-giving will be on stage at 12.30pm. Anyone interested in having a float in the parade can collect entry forms from New World Kawerau, Kawerau District Council and the Kawerau i-Site (Plunket Street). Floats must be entered by December 12.

Kawerau's Christmas in the Park is the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s showcase festive entertainment event, which sees up to 10,000 people packing into Prideaux Park for the celebration. Kawerau District Council events and venues manager Lee Barton says this year’s event promises to be fantastic. “Kawerau Christmas in the Park attracts people from all over the district, as well as from outside the Bay of Plenty, and it’s a great way to wrap up a successful year of events. There’ll be something for everyone and I encourage everyone to come along for a fun family day out.”

The event is family-friendly – drugs, alcohol and gang regalia are not permitted. The organisers would also like to politely remind event comers that Prideaux Park is a smoke-free venue.

The afternoon concert is followed by a professional line-up of evening entertainment, directed by Chris Powley. Details of this will be announced soon.

For more information visit www.kawerauchristmasinthepark.co.nz

Kawerau students’ hard work recognised

November 25, 2016

Lane Walker-Foreman, Manaaki Teirney, Roger Niao, Raydyn Kingi, James Te Riini and Sherraijka Bruintjes each received a certificate of achievement for completing the Work Experience Programme 2016, a joint initiative between Industrial Symbiosis Kawerau and Tarawera High School. Their families were also invited to the ceremony, held at Tarawera High School.

These students were matched with roles in participating businesses to gain valuable work experience. The businesses involved were Kajavala Forestry Limited, Sequal Lumber, Kawerau District Council, CHH Woodproducts and SLH Contracting.

Kawerau District Council economic and community development manager Glenn Sutton says the programme aims to support the community and build bridges between them and local industry.

“The feedback from businesses and the students/high school was very positive. We tried to make the work experience as realistic as possible and all the students enjoyed themselves. A great example of the success of the programme is that Lane Walker-Foreman, who completed his experience at Kajavala Forestry Limited, is now permanently employed by the company,” Glenn said.

“A big thank you to Deanne Butler, Robyn Cannell and (deputy mayor) Faylene Tunui, who got this year’s programme off the ground and prepared and mentored the students.”

Another programme is planned for 2017, with dates to be confirmed.

Information centre joins national network 

November 18, 2016

Kawerau’s information centre is now an i-SITE.

Representatives of the national visitor information network approved Kawerau’s application at a meeting this morning (November 18), and the town’s information centre can begin using i-SITE branding immediately.

The change will give the centre access to training, booking and marketing support, among other things, and will mean it can better meet the needs of the community and a growing number of visitors. The new-look centre will support Kawerau District Council’s increased marketing initiatives to attract new residents to the district.

To coincide with the branding change, the information centre has undergone a complete revamp that sees it equipped with repainted walls to reflect Kawerau’s iconic scenery, new furniture and an all-new team of four, headed up by Hannah Edwardson.

The team - Monique Raj, Matthew Joss and Eunice Rameka, and team leader Hannah Edwardson - looks forward to working as part of the i-SITE network.

“We’re delighted we can increase the services we offer the community, and that we’ll have the support of the national i-SITE network,” Hannah says. 

“Staff from other Bay of Plenty and Waikato i-SITES have provided invaluable support and this is much appreciated.”

The revamped centre will also feature free wifi, a refreshed customer service area, seating areas for customers and a souvenir shop.

An official launch of the i-SITE will be held in December.

Competition heats up for mountain running title

October 19, 2016

Records look set to be broken at this year’s Kawerau King of the Mountain race, with top athletes from both sides of the Tasman lining up to compete.

Ben Duffus, Daniel Jones, Shay Williamson and Sjors Corporaal, all big names in mountain running, are confirmed for the starting line-up.

Australian Ben Duffus will defend his title, which he nabbed in last year’s race. He proved himself the fastest competitor since 1988, when current record holder Barry Prosser finished in a blistering 45.54. Daniel Jones has not competed in the race since 2008. His surprise return could mean big upsets in race results, organisers say.

Shay Williamson last won the title in 2014 and is making another attempt in his last year running in the open category, while Sjors Corporaal placed third in 2015.

King of the Mountain event organisers are excited to see so many top runners taking part.

“I think this year has to be the year the record goes,” race director Lee Barton says. “The level of elite entrants is astonishing.”

“However, there is an entire field of competitors of all different levels of ability taking on this massive challenge; it is everyone together with the same adventurous spirit that makes this race something really special.”

Also entered are Mark Bourne, current King of Pomona (the sister race to Kawerau’s event in Australia King (Australia’s answer to the Kawerau event) and Australian mountain running champion, multiple Pomona king Neil Labinsky, current Pomona queen Leslie Saunders and Chris Morrissey, who will defend his veteran’s title.

Young talent Kaya Henderson-Corporaal is also expected to be a strong contender.

For more information see the King of the Mountain Facebook page or visit www.kaweraukingofthemountain.co.nz/enterhere.

New faces on Kawerau District Council

October 10, 2016

Two new people - David Sparks and Sela Kingi - have been elected to Kawerau District Council in the 2016 local elections.

Along with the six returning councillors, the newly elected members will help steer Kawerau into a positive future and guide the district’s direction for the next three years. David and Sela replace Alistair Holmes, who did not stand for re-election, and Stephen Tuhoro.

The returning councillors are Berice Julian, Carolyn Ion, Faylene Tunui, Rex Savage, Warwick Godfery and Chris Marjoribanks. Malcolm Campbell, Kawerau’s mayor of 15 years, has also been re-elected. This will be his sixth term.

Kawerau District Council chief executive Russell George said there were often mixed emotions at election time.

"It's sad to note that two of our existing councillors - in this case Stephen Tuhoro and Alistair Holmes - won't be returning.  On the other hand it's great to welcome two new faces and we look forward to working with the new council.”

Sela Kingi is married with three children. A qualified mental health clinician, she is Tuwharetoa Ki Kawerau’s infant, child, adolescent and youth's social worker. Sela is delighted to be elected.

“I’m confident I bring valuable experience to Council and look forward to playing a part in continuing the growth and development of Kawerau,” she says. “Thanks to all those who supported me during this election campaign.”

David Sparks has lived in Kawerau on and off for 16 years. He is a community Lawyer with Baywide Community Law Service, vice-president of Kawerau Grey Power and a trustee at Mountain View Rest Home. David has been interested in local politics for a long time and decided the time was right now.

“Council has been on a very good track and I want to help keep up that momentum,” he says. “Kawerau has been undergoing a renaissance and I’d like to see that continue. It’s very important to project a positive image of Kawerau.”

David and Sela both look forward to bringing fresh ideas to the council table.

The new council will have its initial meeting on October 25. 

Council to manage information centre in-house

September 28, 2016

The Kawerau Information Centre will be managed in-house by Kawerau District Council from October 1.

Management of the centre has been brought in-house to enable better communication between Kawerau and other districts, and to help the council and its partners continue to positively promote and develop Kawerau. Previously the centre was managed by a contractor.

“We are quite excited about the changes,” Council economic and community development manager Glenn Sutton says. “It represents a pivotal step in promoting Kawerau.”

He says the move also brings Kawerau into step with other Eastern Bay districts; Whakatane and Opotiki District Councils already manage their respective information centres.

“Both these councils have been very supportive of Kawerau regarding these changes. It’s a great example of successful collaboration between Eastern Bay councils,” he says.

Plans are to refurbish the centre using a wood theme that stays true to Kawerau’s forestry origins.

Hannah Edwardson will take over as team leader of the information centre on October 1. Hannah is currently Kawerau District Council’s Neighbourhoods of Healthy Homes co-ordinator and will continue in this role. The Healthy Homes project will now be based at the information centre.

New activities for 2016 Woodfest

August 24, 2016 

The iconic Kawerau Woodfest event celebrating all things wood is on from September 19-25 and organisers have added some exciting new activities that will appeal to people of all ages.

There’ll be a new BMX Freestyle show that will feature New Zealand’s best freestyle riders, including Paul Langlands, who holds the dirt jump world record. There’ll also be the Hubbard Contracting FMX Pro show and new motocross trials featuring national champion John Hayes.

This year’s Woodfest will feature the Waikato/BOP regional tree-climbing comp. Event co-ordinator Amy Hayes says it’s fantastic to host this activity in Kawerau, as it’s the first time it’s been held outside Tauranga, Rotorua or Hamilton. Kawerau-raised man Scott Forrester is a multiple world champion in this sport and is expected to demonstrate his skills at the competition.

The National Woodskills Competition is Woodfest’s cornerstone event and this year it includes two new categories for first-time entrants (woodturning and furniture). There is also a change to the college-age category, with wood-crafting of any sort being encouraged by students in years 9-13.

Another new addition this year is an Amazing Race, which will give participants a great chance to check out some amazing places in and around Kawerau, learn the history of the town and enjoy a family day out. The Amazing Race will comprise a two-hour rogaine competition around the town and surrounds. Get a team of up to five people together and join in this exciting challenge.

For the first time Woodfest will also incorporate the Kawerau Young Achievers’ awards, which recognise youth who have excelled in a sport, cultural or academic event in the past year or who have made a  significant contribution to the Kawerau community over the same period. The awards will be judged on Wednesday, September 21.

Woodfest is a popular festival celebrating Kawerau’s forestry industry. The week-long event attracts about 12,000 people and also includes attractions such as the Pacific Toyota Big Dig world champs, Woodbugs Carving Symposium, Ash & Oak Pro Logger races, Wood Chopping Competitions, craft stalls, family amusements and much more. Visit www.kaweraudc.govt.nz/woodfest/ for more information and activity dates.

Inaugural health event achieves goals

July 26, 2016

The inaugural Kawerau on the Rise event has been a huge success, with plenty of good feedback received about the various activities over the week.

The week-long event from July 18-25 aimed to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and organisers say that goal has definitely been achieved. Keri Topperwien of the Dream Chaser Foundation, which organised the event in collaboration with Kawerau Youth Council and Kawerau District Council, says activities such as a Pokemon Go race and a police physical competency challenge were designed to appeal to a wide audience and get Kawerau locals and visitors moving.

“The event was well-placed to attract interest across the community demographic.”

Other activities included a cross fit challenge, an Amazing Race and a health expo. Kawerau on the Rise featured speakers and workshops that gave people a chance to get involved and learn more about health issues that may affect their families, and showcased the various support agencies. Keynote speaker Mike King drew a crowd from around town and the wider Eastern Bay and inspired his listeners to take mental health seriously by talking openly and honestly about it with families and friends.

The event’s key message was that everyone should look after themselves.

“Making good choices is the key to overall well-being. It’s important to know how to be healthy and take care of yourself, mentally and physically,” Keri says.

Council youth projects officer JJ Rika says the event also aimed to encourage Kawerau’s young people to make healthier lifestyle choices.

“With that in mind it was great to see so many young people participating over the week, especially in activities such as the police competency test, which really challenged people’s physical capabilities.”

Planning for a 2017 event is already under way. For photos and video footage from the 2016 event visit the Kawerau on the Rise Facebook page (www.facebook.com/events/1225143540843268/).

Project helping locals into work wins excellence award

July 26, 2016

Kawerau’s Seamless Boundaries initiative has won a Local Government NZ (LGNZ) excellence award.

The project was named a winner in the MartinJenkins Excellence award for best practice contribution to local economic development category at a dinner held last night as part of the annual LGNZ conference.

Seamless Boundaries is a collaborative project between Kawerau and Matamata-Piako District Councils and the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs that connects local people struggling to find work with jobs at Silver Fern Farms.

Mayor Malcolm Campbell is delighted at the win. “Everyone involved in this initiative has worked really hard to make it a success. It’s made a big difference to a lot of Kawerau families and we’re proud to have the project recognised on a national stage. Thanks to all involved for the sterling efforts.”

Malcolm and Matamata-Piako mayor Jan Barnes attended the dinner, along with Kawerau district councillor Faylene Tunui, who has been one of the key drivers of the initiative.

A short video in which Malcolm and Jan talk about the project can be viewed on Kawerau District Council’s Facebook page (https://facebook.com/KawerauDistrictCouncil/)

The LGNZ awards showcase council projects, programmes and people who have made an impact in local communities. This is the second year running Kawerau District Council has been nominated for an award; last year it was named runner-up in the community impact category for its Neighbourhoods of Healthy Homes project.

Council encourages community involvement in elections 

July 11, 2016

The local elections are on October 8 and Kawerau District Council is encouraging people to ensure they’re enrolled to vote.

People can check their details are up to date from July 15, when the Kawerau electoral roll opens for inspection. Nominations for council also open on July 15.

Council is also encouraging people to stand for election. To ensure potential candidates are fully aware of what’s involved, a candidate information evening is being held on July 20. The event, on from 5.30-7pm in the council chambers, will cover everything you need to know about being a councillor.

Electoral officer Dale Ofsoske will run the event and council chief executive Russell George will give an overview of the election process. Everyone is welcome and no registration is necessary. For more information phone (07) 306 9009.

Nominations for the local body elections close on August 12 and are available from www.kaweraudc.govt.nz or from the district office.

Kiwi team announced to face Aussies in mountain race

July 11, 2016

Three well-known Kiwi runners will take on their Australian counterparts in the Pomona mountain race on July 24.

Eight-times Kawerau king Chris Morrissey, two-times Kawerau king Shay Williamson and current Kawerau queen Corinne Smit comprise this year’s team.

The race, the sister event to Kawerau’s King of the Mountain, comprises a run up the 439m-high Mt Cooroora, just inland from Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Many top Kiwi athletes have crossed the ditch in the past 30 years to try their luck, with varying degrees of success.

Chris has won Pomona twice, while Shay has represented New Zealand in the event three times before but has yet to win. The defending Kawerau king is 2016’s Kiwi favourite. This year is Corinne’s first attempt; Kawerau District Council events and venues manager and King of the Mountain organiser Lee Barton says she is a strong favourite. It wouldn’t be the first time a Kiwi has upset the Australians.

“Last year New Zealand superstar Hayden Wilde broke the Aussie hearts after winning the Pomona race,” Lee says.

The relationship between Pomona and the Kawerau King of the Mountain began in 1985, when local runner Rosalie Hyland became the first Kiwi woman to win the former event while on holiday. Her husband Howard had revived the Kawerau race in the 1970s and its profile was growing. The directors of both events then formed a reciprocal agreement to grant the top place getters in each race to the chance to compete in the other event. This agreement has continued ever since.

The Pomona field is limited to just 100 runners, who are selected from a nomination list by the race director according to their experience and past results in the race.

Kawerau on the Rise

Kawerau on the Rise announcement Click 39 kB

Kawerau on the Rise speaker Click 38 kB

King of the Mountain (KOTM) Race

KOTM entries open Click 36 kB