Mayor's column May 2017

(Posted on: May 9)

This last month was full of opportunities to see our volunteers in action demonstrating the power of our local communities as they positively drive the future direction of their respective villages, supported by Council.

ANZAC Day brought our communities together to remember those who gave their lives in all military and peacekeeping operations on our behalf. Senior students from North Street School assisted the RSA to clean headstones at the cemetery and researched information about the many servicemen and women who lie there.  Many of our villages held their own services with a ‘local’ flavor and these were all well attended. It was moving to see wreaths and poppies which had been handmade by children and community groups.

The power of community support was key to Manfeild securing the NZ Grand Prix again. Our region, supported by neighbouring regions, pulled together to show that we value this prestigious event and want to build value-added activities around it. The fast response to create a $100K per annum support fund, contributed jointly by the city and district Councils, our business community and Central Energy Trust, was key in the decision to award Manfeild hosting rights again. A group of ‘ideas’ people are now working on how we will grow the Grand Prix event.

Keep Feilding Beautiful volunteers repainted all the bridges that go across the Makino Stream in Feilding. Their request for additional helpers attracted groups and individuals from across our region. Well done and thank you.

I was also fortunate to speak at the Rural Federated Women’s Assn. AGM and Feilding Rotary Club last month. It is always heartwarming to hear the range of activities and assistance these types of groups have in our community.

The NZ Farm Forestry Conference was held in Feilding, attracting participants from around NZ and overseas. Congratulations to locals, John and Dinny Dermer, for pulling this together and showcasing our region, albeit during some very wet days underfoot.

200 performers plus a huge support crew, all volunteers, delivered another outstanding Manawatu Tattoo event, combining pipes bands, military vehicles, horses, dance, choirs and bands. The passion and professionalism of the NZ Youth Pipe Band members under the directorship of our own Sheran Hancock, again all volunteers, was very moving.

I attended the Social Wellbeing Forum where numerous not-for-profit agencies came together to identify key social issues affecting our communities and determining potential solutions. Many of the people involved in this critical work are passionate volunteers.

And congratulations to our Feilding Farmers Market who have just been announced second place to Otago, in the NZ Farmers Market People’s Choice Award. Every week our Market adds vibrancy to the town centre with a range of live entertainment, community activities and regular celebrity appearances, drawing more shoppers here for everyone to benefit from. This takes a lot of additional effort and again relies heavily on volunteers who help out rain, hail or shine.

Our District is vibrant and thriving thanks in part to the power of our community volunteers and your Council is committed to supporting, empowering and facilitating these strong communities.

Helen Worboys