We have a lot to talk about! - 8/12/2005by Deputy Mayor Dot McKinnon
I was delighted this week to read about Wanganui in the December issue of the Air New Zealand inflight magazine. The photography of the river, our coastline and our cultural icons are just stunning. It is a delightful article and I commend those who spoke with the story writer Adrienne Rewi. Well done!
I also commend the free magazine of Wanganui – Flow – which I have also just found. Well done Suzy Rea for your innovative work. We certainly have a lot to talk about. Just think of all of the activities and events we are experiencing. The Oceania Cycling Champs just completed were incredibly successful and put Wanganui's sporting venue, the Velodrome, on the map. With the Cemetery Circuit, Jimmy Barnes, River Queen and Mayoral Mile events and of course the famous UCOL Summer School, there is a lot of excitement and hype. Fundraising for the Splash Centre is upon us and I expect we will be dipping in our pockets for the next few years at a variety of events that will end in the building of the Splash.
At the Regional Chief's Forum this week in Feilding, I met with our regional MPs, Mayors and CEOs. Issues on the agenda were diverse and included a presentation from Marie Shroff, the Privacy Commissioner, the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust and the Horowhenua Drag Racing Strip at Foxton (a project that is on the planning horizon). I was able to tell this group of leaders about the success Wanganui is having in our trilogy of events, the Splash Centre project, the riverbank walkway project, the nil rates increase, the formation of one body, Wanganui Inc, to cluster our economic development and tourist organisations, the referenda, the positive reviews we are attracting in business, tourist and local government magazines and the initial plans we have for our cultural precinct – the Heart of Wanganui. I felt quite proud of the activities we are involved in, for the betterment of Wanganui.
Another opportunity this week was to host a Chinese delegation of Mayors and civic leaders from a suburb of Beijing. They were most impressed with our revamped civic chambers.
Talking with our tangata whenua at our Council Tupoho meetings was also a highlight as there is so much of our culture and heritage that we can jointly explore and share. This will be illustrated in the River Queen premiere ceremony where we have the film producer giving back the waka to Iwi as a mark of appreciation of their support during the filming of the River Queen. This will be a magnificent ceremony in the lead up to the premiere on January 24.
While we are on the subject of the river, why not take a river trip this summer. Try a leisurely spell on the Waimarie, or for more adventure Mark Wickham's jet boat tours or even Niko Tangaroa's Waka tours and there is more. What an adventure!