The small Northland town of Paihia, with a resident population of just 1700, is named supreme winner of the 2014 Trustpower National Community Awards. Far North District Council deputy mayor Tania McInnes says Paihia is a great example of a community that stopped waiting for someone else to fix its problems. “It took responsibility and put words into action.”
Over the past six years, trustees of Focus Paihia Community Charitable Trust have completed a series of projects to rejuvenate the centre of the town. Most work has been done with little or no funding, and has relied on volunteers’ time and expertise.
Among other projects, teams have renovated an underused and unattractive public space, transformed the “ugliest toilet in New Zealand” into a well-photographed public commodity, created a swimming pontoon, painted a mural, overhauled a village green, installed public seating and transformed a public carpark into a park.
Trustees say it’s all about having a common goal, building community spirit and getting hands dirty.
Tania is providing more details on how Focus Paihia operates in a keynote speech at the 2015 National Community Board Conference. The conference runs from May 14 to 16 and is being held in Waitangi, Bay of Islands.
For more on Paihia’s achievements also see the upcoming May issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.