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Councillor update June 2023: Improving the dialogue between Council and community

Community Committees meeting in Council Chambers.
Myself and others at a Community Committees meeting in Council Chambers.

As we look forward to a new financial year, Waikato District Council is examining how it can improve the dialogue between Council and community through our locally elected community committees.

Planning for the right community outcomes

The Council has, so far, invited representatives of local community committees to attend workshops to help set the goals and ‘community outcomes’ that will shape the next Long Term Plan 2024-34.

Together we’ve drafted four community outcome statements that speak to the Council’s vision for the district, ‘liveable, thriving and connected communities’, and that will help focus the Council’s decision-making on the community’s long-term wellbeing in four areas - social, cultural, economic, and environmental. We hope you have taken the opportunity to comment on these draft ‘community outcomes’.

Community Committees meeting in Council Chambers.

We’ve also invited community boards and the larger community committees to the first of a series of general ‘catch-up’ sessions with Council – the first one focussed on the Council’s Annual Plan for the coming year (2023/24), the steps we have to take to get the next Long Term Plan 2024-34 ready for community consultation by early next year, and how we might all work better together.

Other community forums

The Council is also examining how it might develop other consultative groups to enable us to better understand and focus on the needs of iwi, rural interests, and our many smaller communities across the district. So watch this space.

Tamahere-Woodlands heritage

One group already operating in Tamahere-Woodlands is the Tamahere-Woodlands Heritage Committee. It is a group of heritage enthusiasts from across the Ward who report into the Council’s district-wide Heritage Forum. With Council support, the local committee is spearheading a project to install heritage signs in our many small villages, including Eureka, Gordonton, Matangi, Newstead, Puketaha, Tamahere and Taupiri, and has started building a website to collate local historical information.

Blueprints refresh

The Council expects to complete a ‘light refresh’ of the District and local area ‘blueprints’ as we start preparing budgets and work programmes for the next Long Term Plan. The Council wants to know which blueprint initiatives are most important to you and your community. Thank you to local community committees who are already reviewing their own blueprints for this purpose.

Annual Plan for 2023/24 to be adopted 28 June

Last month’s Councillors’ update outlined the challenging economic conditions we face, including high inflation and disaster recovery costs following Cyclone Gabrielle, which has led the Council to decide to increase general rates by 7% from 1 July. This avoids a $2.8 million deficit had the rates rise been limited to 3.5% as first planned. Please check the online rates information database to see what this means for you. Council staff are now finalising the 2023/24 Annual Plan in line with this decision and the Council is expected to adopt it on 28 June.

Consultation extended on targeted rate for gully restoration in Tamahere

The Council extended consultation to 25 May for a proposed targeted rate in the old (pre-2022) Tamahere Ward to support gully restoration work. This was to ensure the community affected was aware of the proposal as well as being informed about the general rates increase. The community response will be carefully considered before a decision is made.

Other news from around the Ward

· Hukanui Park development – a public workshop is being held in Gordonton Hall, 4-7pm, Monday 29 May, to collate feedback for the Council for the redevelopment of the park with a playground, and with paths and seating if the budget allows.

· St Stephen’s Tamahere celebrates 140 years - Congratulations to St Stephen’s

St Stephen’s Tamahere Church 140th celebrations.
St Stephen’s Tamahere 140th celebrations.

Tamahere which celebrates 140 years since the first church was dedicated on its site in May 1883. (The church was rebuilt in 1970 after a fire.) Archbishop Emeritus Sir David Moxon is guest preacher at the celebratory service at 9.30am, Sunday 28 May. A talk about the history of Tamahere, and a tour of the historic cemetery – where many early settlers of the district are buried - are also planned after the service.

· Rescued ruru released - Two rescued native owl (ruru/morepork) were successfully released at The Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum on 13 May. The Park – which began as a quarry rehabilitation project more than 30 years ago - has adopted the ruru as its emblem because the Waitakaruru Stream (Waitakaruru means owl by the water in Maaori) flows through the park.

Contact your Tamahere-Woodlands Councillors:

Crystal Beavis, mob 0275 957 927, email

Mike Keir, mob 027 449 3012, email

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