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Mataikona combats crime

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

A small Wairarapa community has banded together to overcome its remoteness – and to stop groups of people coming in and shooting up the countryside.

With only about 60 residents, and located an hour and a half from Masterton, the coastal community of Mataikona could easily be overlooked.

But its newly formed Neighbourhood Support group, of which 37 people are members, has put the settlement back on the map.

The Mataikona – Packspur Group was set up in May to combat the increase of livestock poaching incidents, and other “unwanted behaviour”.

The group’s area coordinator Marie Clement said the activity had increased so much that it had only been “a matter of time before someone was shot”.

“People were coming here and discharging firearms, and shooting into places where they didn’t even know what’s on the other side,” she said.

“So we banded together and we thought, well, we don’t want these activities, and we don’t want these people in our area.”

Mrs Clement said the group had gone on to install CCTV cameras to catch offenders, had improved trespass signage, and was sourcing equipment to improve civil defence there.

As a result, livestock poaching has significantly reduced in the area, and communication and co-operation between residents within the area has vastly improved

“We’ve been told over and over that we’re so remote – we’re actually the remotest location in Wairarapa, and it’s very difficult to get any services to us,” Mrs Clement said.

“We don’t have roading, we don’t have lights, we don’t have sewerage, we don’t have rubbish collection, and we don’t have civil defence.

“So we wanted to pull together and build up our resources.”

Mrs Clement said residents were now “standing and delivering for ourselves”.

“We’ve pulled together, and there’s a really good feel about the place now.”

Some of the group’s upcoming projects include buying a good first aid kit, getting a radio put in, and sourcing some firefighting equipment.

Four of the group’s members had also been participating in an emergency management course to better prepare their community.

They group recently won a “Gold Award” in the inaugural National Neighbourhood Support Awards in the “Safe City” category.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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