On Tuesday 12 March we held the first community meeting at the Turner Centre. With more than 300 in attendance it was fantastic to see so many people with a common desire to unlock our town’s potential.

The meeting included insights from the founders of Focus Paihia as well as interactive group sessions that enabled everyone to have their say.

The key outcomes from the meeting:

  • The town wants to unlock its potential

  • The scope is split into 4 well beings (that align with local and national government):

    • Economic

    • Environmental

    • Social

    • Cultural

• It’s about looking forward and not dwelling on the past

• We will be following the proven process used by Focus Paihia Charitable Trust

• There are many ways to get involved from sharing social media posts and baking scones through to leading groups and volunteering time.

Since the first community meeting, we have formed a Leadership Group and Steering Team to project manage, plan and guide this initiative.

Early on we recognised the importance of having a vision for the town:

- one that the community articulated; and

- one that provided direction for everything we did; and

- one that prepared us for the future.

Creating a vision has been the primary focus of work since the first community meeting.

We have gone on to establish Focus Groups based the wellbeing framework (cultural, economic, environmental, social). The Focus Groups include passionate and skilled members of the community who want to have in-depth input into a particular area of the community.

The wellbeing framework was the basis of the June 2019 national budget. As a framework it has been internationally endorsed as a more community-led approach to governance. In addition, it achieves two purposes:

(1) It ensures we look at all aspects of the community; and

(2) It supports a fruitful working relationship with local government and other government entities.

We then went on to get more input that was representative of the total community, beyond the initial data gathered at the community meeting. We met with, and surveyed hundreds of people from all walks of life and life stages. In total we have received feedback from over 1300 members of our community to identify key desires, attitudes and future needs.

Through a workshop, the Leadership Team then assessed this data, cross-referenced it against other community approaches and finally drafted a vision for how Kerikeri would look and feel in 20 – 50 years’ time.

We are now at the point of sense checking the draft vision with the community, you will find a link to this on the home page.

We are also working on:

• Presenting a draft to the Far North District Council

• Fine-tuning and getting feedback from Focus Groups

• Understanding the flow of work that will come from this vision

• Engaging volunteers, funding groups and other stakeholders

We also welcome sponsors (organisations or individuals) who can provide venues, knowledge, financial backing, technical skills, signage, stationary, tools, food, beverages, raw materials …. the list goes on. This is what we mean by sharing resources so the whole community can benefit. It could be something as small as a pack of pens or as large as a greenhouse!

To date, we would like to thank the Focus Paihia Charitable Trust, The Old Packhouse Market, Halvo Signs, the Kerikeri District Business Association, Matt Watson and Whitelaw Weber.