Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Potential waiting to be realised

By Geoff Vause

[email protected]

The citizenship ceremony conducted by Mayor Lynn Patterson last week was the biggest she has held.

There were Samoans, Indians, Fijian Indians, Filipinos, Welsh, Dutch, South African, British – families, couples and single people.

On so many fronts, Wairarapa is undergoing a renaissance – the churches, if they were awake, could easily see it as a revival.

Revival is a good choice of word, irrespective of anybody’s spiritual persuasion. The region now owns its own newspaper – a significant vote of confidence in the potential around the corner by people courageous enough to recognise that and act upon it.

Economic commentators visiting Wairarapa have consistently pointed to the inherent strength in the economy, and the deep and lasting value of its young people.

Rangitane o Wairarapa and Ngati Kahungunu have settled their Treaty claims, with a large chunk of change coming from the Crown. With typical, intrinsic aroha, leaders of these two iwi have made it plain they see the subsequent spiritual and economic value in this contributing to the wider wairua of Wairarapa, and it is their openly stated desire to protect and nurture this to the benefit of the entire community, irrespective of where these tauiwi once called home.

There are companies and organisations across Wairarapa which lead the world in innovation, creative design and manufacturing. Linking and harnessing the education of the young to the opportunities created by these and many other industries is imperative.

By doing this, new forms of innovation will emerge. Young people invariably have no fear – one of their great strengths is that they don’t know what can’t be done, so they do it.

As I have said in this space previously, leadership is essential. The incoming local government players need to have clear signals from an informed mandate. In short, voters need to turn out in force and leave no doubt about their preferences.

Voters across Wairarapa need to show the pretenders seat warming and stipend collecting around council tables is gone. They need to carefully select and tick the best.

Each of the families at the citizenship ceremony was given a kowhai tree to plant. Yellow can mean cowardice. It can also mean intelligence, self-worth and confidence.

Wairarapa is crying out for the latter.

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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