Even though it’s early February, and as this is my first koorero with you all through this editorial, I’d like to start by wishing you all a belated Happy New Year and best wishes for 2024!
Before getting into the nitty gritty of council activities, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate where we live and all that is great about our fantastic district.
The weather certainly helped us all enjoy a well-earned break during the summer holidays, and I hope that all who were able to make the most of what our district has to offer, both for our visitors and residents.
There were many events held locally that played their part in contributing to our district being a Liveable, Thriving, Connected Community – from locally-run Christmas parades to bigger events that attracted nationwide attention.
These led to thousands of people from elsewhere making their way to our corner of Aotearoa in a way which I think showcased our communities.
Soundsplash music festival is a great example which saw about 10,000 revellers descend on Raglan in January. This regular event continues to evolve gaining not only support from the local community but also visitors from across the country coming into our district.
I know of at least three events held on Waitangi Day in Whaaingaroa (Raglan), Raahui Pookeka (Huntly) and Tuakau. Some of our elected members were involved in them and they were a huge success on a local level. It is wonderful to see across the district our community celebrating who we are as kiwis, along with enjoying the beautiful weather and our places of natural beauty.
Thanks to all those in our communities especially those that volunteer who drive these successful events, it’s a part of my role as Mayor that I really love - being with and a part of a community that comes together celebrating or recognising those things that are import to us all.
Great events, great weather, great people – what more could you ask for.
Now, as mentioned earlier, the nitty gritty of council activities. It is in full swing as my councillors and I finalise the Draft Long Term Plan 2024-2034 (basically a planned budget for the next 10 years) with council staff.
I’ve said it before, it is extremely challenging. Everyone is doing their best to keep the financial impact to those in our communities as low as we can without compromising the services we offer. Along with the rest of the councils in New Zealand, we’re finding it very tough.
The draft plan will be out for consultation towards the end of March.
But for now, I just wanted to express my gratitude for where I live, where I work and for the people that make our district the wonderful place that it is.
Ngaa mihi nui and warmest regards,
Mayor Jacqui Church