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Carterton community pitches perfectly

An innovative response to a real estate agent’s dilemma led to a lively and informative night for Carterton newcomers and established locals, to learn about their town and the people, businesses and groups that make it tick.

Community-led development group, Ka Pai Carterton, heard that Jo Kelly and Co real estate agents couldn’t host their usual get-together for newbies and stepped in to help out.

Ka Pai Carterton’s community facilitators, Cimone Grayson and Lucy McKenzie, mobilised their extensive network and invited businesses, groups and community leaders to “come and give a 30-second pitch of what your business does and the different ways you want the community to get involved”.

Over 70 groups and businesses registered and delivered more than 80 quick pitches to an audience of 120 at the Carterton Events Centre, many of whom had recently made Carterton home.

“It was awesome,” Grayson said, and it had wide appeal.

“The newbies loved it because they heard lots of different groups and organisations in one place. They immediately felt connected with each other and with their new community,” she said.

“Current residents there were saying, ‘well, I didn’t know this was going on. I didn’t know about this group. I’ve never met this person’. So they were also appreciating making the connections.”

“There was a real buzz in the room,” Carterton District Council [CDC] councillor Lou Newman said.

She used the opportunity to talk about A Very Carterton Christmas, a carols-in-the-park style event in Carrington Park on December 10.

While an established resident herself, Newman’s in-laws are recent arrivals to the region and they appreciated the opportunity to see and hear “everything happening in our amazing wee town”.

“It is always tricky when you move somewhere new and to be able to find some groups where you feel you fit, is such a great way to join the community,” Newman said.

The councillor also enjoyed hearing from presenters and has added to her social calendar as a result.

“I’ll be off trying a new yoga class next week.”

Celia Wade-Brown used her 30 seconds to talk about the Wairarapa Walking Festival, which launches on November 10 and she really valued the “positive and friendly atmosphere”.

“I think any new resident would have felt absolutely justified in their decision to move to Carterton,” she said.

The 30-second pitch format was designed to ensure the audience received a lot of information in a short amount of time.

“We had the gong at the ready,” Grayson said.

Pitchers “knew that if they went over 30 seconds they’d be gonged”.

“It became a bit of fun. If you beat the gong, there was cheering.”

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