Board Member Report
Kia Ora Everyone
June 2016 will go down in history as a very special month for Waiheke. The tuwhare (dressing of the marae) is a testament to the incredible talent, commitment and ability to collaborate that can be found on Waiheke. I have felt particularly honoured to have been part of this incredible experience, and would like to acknowledge the marae community in welcoming all of Waiheke to be involved. Not only is the wharenui (meeting house) spectacular but the pou in the gardens, the gardens themselves, and the wharekai (dining room) all support the vision of the wharenui. I’ve also really enjoyed hearing about who was involved and the stories represented. It is a huge cultural resource and I look forward to seeing how we grow in the role of hosting such an inspiring place.
From an arts perspective the artworks complex is also really buzzy at the moment with the Matariki Arts exhibition following on from the Queen’s Birthday arts trail. Lots of people have also been involved in The Sound of Music that has had a number of sellout shows.
This weekend it will all continue with Ngati Paoa and The Council collaborating to celebrate the start of Matariki with a dawn blessing from Waiheke.. Everyone is welcome at the 6.00 am ceremony in the artworks courtyard to see Matariki rise over the pou.
In Ostend, Countdown looks set to open soon. It will be interesting to see the effects on the precinct and the traffic. Hopefully it will create more of a hub in Ostend with lots of shops operating from within walking distance of each other. While AT and the Board are aware of traffic issues, the strategy seems to be to adopt a wait and see approach to see any real effects before addressing these.
In tourism, the Tourism Forum has presented their branding ideas to the tourism operators. ATEED have also been doing extensive marketing of the Auckland area and Waiheke. If you are in the tourism space, have a holiday now because it seems that there are big events planned for next Winter that will make it a long season – both the Lions Tour and the Masters Games will be taking place in New Zealand next Winter. Our constant battle as a board is thinking through where funding will come from for tourism infrastructure so that visitors have a great experience but locals aren’t swamped in the process.
In the environmental space, the pest animal projects are joining up the dots. Funding has come in to various groups and there are a number of initiatives on the go. Most recently the ‘Extend the Halo’ project asks Onetangi residents to get involved in ratbaiting and microchipping cats to help develop a friendly urban environment for birds and help protect wildlife in the forest and bird reserve.
Through the support of adult learning, the high school and the police, we now have a qualified driving instructor on the island. It will be great to see people going through the programme and learning to drive safely on the island.