Message from the Mayor

Published on September 15, 2023

Mayor Bernie Wanden 2022.jpg
Kia ora koutou,

Kia kaha te reo Māori! This week as a nation we embraced Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language week. At Horowhenua District Council, the week began with the raising of the Tino Rangatiratanga flag and waiata. Yesterday we joined in Te Wā Tuku Reo moment which commemorates the date and moment that the fight began for the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori by singing together at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō. The goal was for two million people to be celebrating Te Reo Māori all together at the same time. At midday today, Friday 15 September, Muaūpoko Tribal Authority and Raukawa Whānau Ora are joining our Council Waiata Group Te Karanga o te Tui for a konohete to mark the special occasion.

Along with the revitalisation of Te Reo, we have been celebrating other exciting things happening in our rohe.

Our contractor, Recreational Services (RS) Horowhenua won the RS Positive Image Award for the sixth year in a row. This is an outstanding achievement reflected in the beautiful way they maintain and beautify our spaces in Horowhenua and how they support hapori events. They consistently go above and beyond supporting community initiatives and we congratulate the team on their well-deserved recognition. We are proud to work with them.

In this Community Connection we have included findings from our recent resident satisfaction survey. This was the second year using Ask Nicely, an online Voice of the Customer software.  It’s also the first time we’ve been able to benchmark our Net Promoter Score to gauge overall performance, and we were delighted to learn that more people are satisfied with our services. Thank you to the more than 2,000 people who took part to help us identify areas for improvement.

The next nine months are going to be critical as Council looks to develop a Long Term Plan for the next 20 years. Although we have uncertainty at present with the General Election and Central Government reforms, we still need to carefully manage what we have in front of us as best we can including reviewing policies and strategies, and taking into account new growth assumptions. We will be seeking your views and opinions on ways to do this in the current economic environment, and continue to deliver core services well. In addition, we will need to know public opinion on investment in community amenities and facilities that will keep our rohe current. We are just like a household trying to balance and work within a budget.

I’ve enjoyed having time to get out and about during the past couple of weeks and appreciated being part of the pōwhiri onto Paranui Pā which has been closed for quite some time and re-opened following refurbishment of their ablutions block. Last week I got out to Shannon to meet with Shannon Progressive Association representatives. It was a good opportunity to discuss challenges and what Council can do to support the town.

Last weekend I attended the Fairfield School reunion where they celebrated and reminisced the schools 60 years and I also enjoyed the annual Scottish Ball held at the Memorial Hall in Levin. Well done to organisers of both events, I know how much hard work and planning goes into these to ensure their success.

Bernie Wanden

Bernie Wanden