Public Meeting 9 April 2014 Press Release

Focus Paihia Community Trust confirms mandate.

Focus Paihia received confirmation, via a public meeting last week, that it is still strongly supported by the community.  At a meeting of over 200 people, unanimous agreement was received that the Trust was still heading in the right direction.

Trust Chair Grant Harnish said ‘it is both reassuring and encouraging that the community is supportive of the direction of the Trust.  We are incredibly proud, not only of the projects that the community has achieved over the past four years, but also the spirit, determination and commitment that has seen Paihia begin to really shine’.

Strong vision and clear leadership, along with dedicated volunteers and generous supporters, has seen an incredible number of inspiring projects been undertaken.  The meeting highlighted the variety of Focus Paihia endorsed activities, which has seen Paihia grow from strength to strength.

These include the Bay Belle seating area, Paihia’s Wee Toilet, lighting in the Village Green, a town mural and the make over of the waterfront carpark, now arguably the most popular destination in the area.

So much so, that it is becoming a bit famous – with the achievements being held up as benchmarks of what can be achieved when communities work together.

Potential future projects were highlighted at the meeting.  These included lighting up Williams Road, further enhancements to the Paihia Village Green and a mountain bike park.  Focus Paihia has also received a grant of $30,000 from Pub Charities to undertake the second stage of CCTV cameras, which will be set up in central Paihia.  The short fall for the second stage will be covered by Business Paihia Inc. and Focus Paihia equally.  Cameras are already operational in Kings Road.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for discussion groups to share opinions and ideas, focused around particular topics.  With community opinion not always agreeing, robust debate ensued.  The outcome saw 10 out of 10 groups supporting Focus Paihia’s mandate.

‘We see this debate as a real strength and one of the reasons Focus has been so successful.  We, as a community, haven’t always agreed, however know that forthright discussion ensures an open process and often achieves better outcomes’ said Grant.

In 2011 Focus Paihia launched the Masterplan, which was endorsed by the FNDC in 2012. The Masterplan provides an overall aspiration for future development, based on a  contemporary, maritime village.  The plan provides inspiration that has seen an amazing energy, unity, pride and support grow in the town.

Moving forward, while 9 out of 10 groups supported the Masterplan, it is apparent that it will need a refresher to ensure the wider community is aware and supports this long term vision.  The Trust will also undertake a review of its priorities.

The value of the projects such as the creation of ‘Horotutu – Our Place’ on the waterfront, on land that used to be a car park, is known locally, but also renown in other parts of NZ, with many areas looking to the Trust for advice. Returning visitors are amazed at the transformations that have happened so far and the energy in Paihia.

Focus Paihia is very grateful for the ongoing support of some incredible volunteers, organisations and the Far North District Council.  ‘However’ said Grant ‘the most amazing outcome to date is the wider Paihia community coming together and achieving something that was once just a pipe dream’.

To stay up to date, the Trust runs a Facebook page, website and monthly newsletter.

Well done Paihia. Well done Focus Paiha.

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