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Wairarapa has heart

By Brent Gare
Radio Host

What does “being local” mean to you? It’s a question I asked myself recently and the conclusion I found was, in a word, surprising. If you’re born here you’d say ‘yes, a local’.
But what if you moved to our little piece of paradise that has held a fairly stagnant population for some time?
Like many areas people come and go, there’s always those that when something happens use the line ‘oh that’s typical (insert town here)’.
I’ve moved around a bit in my radio career and found living in a small area in provincial New Zealand does provide many opportunities, and maybe some challenges.
There’s the small town gossip, that’s in every area.
There are the highs and inevitable lows. But what I have found after living in Marlborough, the West Coast of the South Island, Timaru and in Christchurch, one thing remains constant about Wairarapa and the makeup of its people. But I‘ll get to that later.
Every town was fundamentally the same; locally owned business, people who have lived here all their lives and some that moved away and came back to raise children or even retire.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, that’s a lot of New Zealand, but what got me the most was the one thing I think Wairarapa has more than many other regions: Heart.
I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in football, touch and rugby; served on committees, boards and assisted with fundraisers and other local initiatives.
The people I’ve met here have a real genuine love for the region whether they were born here or not.
Everything here is easily accessible; the beach, the mountains, the city and the countryside.
I may not be telling you anything you don’t know but Wairarapa has, in my humble opinion, above all other regions; Heart.
People here generally love living here and after 12 years I can say that my wife and I, along with our two children, can’t really imagine living anywhere else.
Every region has scenery, every town has great people but Wairarapa has Heart.
I’m constantly amazed that after talking with so many people, some struggling and some wealthy, the Heart of the people who live here, the welcoming nature, the history and culture, the future of the region can only be amazing.
It is what we as locals create.
Growth stats and real estate clearly back that up but no one ever mentions Heart. It’s something, for some reason, we always miss. There are plenty of people I could name from a wide range of organisations, business and sports clubs I have had the pleasure of working alongside, but they know who they are and certainly don’t look for praise or recognition. So, am I a local?
In so many ways I‘d say ‘yes’. It’s the place I choose to live, the life my family has created and an area we are very settled and happy to live in. I have a love and passion for this amazing region.
As you’re aware we punch above our weight in the arts, sport and culture and we should never be to backwards in coming forward to say ‘I’m proud of where come from’.
I have so many good friends here, and while we don’t have family in the region, plenty of people I know I could call on if needed.
For my family, Wairarapa is home and after all, Home is where the Heart is.

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