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Wairoa bursts onto world stage

The Wairoa District Council’s Visual Identity Project has attracted attention across the ditch, with Wairoa District Council Economic Development officers Ros Thomas and Katie Bowen being invited to present at next week’s ‘Future of Communities: Power to the People’ conference in Melbourne, Australia.

The conference is Australia’s only national community engagement conference and focuses on building community health, resilience, connectedness and inclusion and encouraging communities to find issues to challenges from the inside out and to take responsibility for their own future.

Internationally acclaimed community engagement expert Peter Kenyon, who facilitated the first stage of Wairoa’s Visual Identity Project earlier this year was so impressed with the approach taken by the Wairoa District Council Economic Development team to engage the community that he extended an invitation to present at the conference in Melbourne, even offering to pay all expenses so that the work happening in Wairoa can be shared more widely.

Mr Kenyon says it was a privilege to be part of the team. He acknowledged the vision of the Wairoa District Council and Te Matarae o Te Wairoa Trust in instigating the Visual Identity Project and praised the work of Mrs Thomas and Mrs Bowen.

“I also want to acknowledge the generosity, interest and passion of local residents of the Wairoa district in sharing their ideas and dreams”, Mr Kenyon said.

Mrs Thomas says we’re really pleased with the approach we took during the first stage of the visual identity project. It means a lot that people like Peter Kenyon recognised the work we’re doing and has encouraged us to share some of our experiences to a much broader audience, particularly to communities like Wairoa facing similar challenges.

“I think there will be some really good projects that we can learn from too while we’re at the conference, and also meeting people who are doing similar work to us. It’s all about sharing best practice.”

“Whilst presenting the work we’ve done through the visual identity project, we’ve also been invited to be on expert panels to discuss small communities and community engagement. This is really positive for the Wairoa district. The work we’re doing here is being recognised internationally and that’s something we can all be proud of”, says Mrs Thomas.

Wairoa District Council Chief Executive, Fergus Power, says he was not surprised by the acknowledgment of the Economic Development team.

“Wairoa is rapidly becoming recognised for its capability - not just within the region or New Zealand, but internationally.”

“The Wairoa community can be justifiably proud of the calibre of Council staff and contractors”, he said.

Mayor Craig Little expressed pride in the fact that an international mega-city was turning to Wairoa for assistance. “Sometimes, we just don’t give ourselves enough credit for the wonderful work undertaken within this Council. It’s a pleasure when others recognise our strength, and seek our assistance. It’s a real achievement for Ros and Katie and I couldn’t be prouder of them”, he said.

Stage two of the Visual Identity Project is currently underway. This stage will build upon the information gathered during stage one at the community expo and surveys earlier this year to create a unique visual identity for the Wairoa district that can be used locally, nationally and internationally.

For more information:

Kitea Tipuna
Communications Strategist
Wairoa District Council
(06) 838 7309

5 July 2016

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