Monday, 1 June 2015

Taumarunui Rotary revitalise town's northern gateway

Rotarian Don Buchanan and Mayor Don Cameron
at the wet opening day of the
Taumarunui Northern Entrance Canoe structure.
The Taumarunui Rotary Club has been the main driver behind a new northern entrance structure to revitalise the tired looking entrance. For visitors coming from the north, they were greeted by a barren area. The council identifying the need to do something, but not really having the resources to achieve it, looked to the community to take on the project. Up stepped Rotary.

The Taumarunui Rotary Club had been looking at options for this over many years, but each time the project kicked off it seemed there were so many groups and interests that these attempts stalled before they started. Finally in 2011 with committed funds from the Taumarunui Rotary Club and the Ruapehu District Council the project started. This was enabled by the drive and relationships of Sue Morris who was the mayor at the time and Rotarian of the club. A number of design concepts come forward but budget limits and group partnerships lead to the idea of a canoe frame structure with a four poster boards to have images that depict the aspects of the town that will attract visitors as they enter.

In 2014 the project started and it became clear additional funds were required. Fortunately a District 9920 Grant of $3,000 was provided to the project to help with the shortfall. This was when the hard work started for the project manager, Don Buchanan. a long a standing member of the club. Balancing funds, working with local businesses to provide in kind support and managing the demands of council reporting and other community groups, became the norm.

On the 15 May, Mayor Don Cameron officially opened the structure as well as it receiving a blessing from the kaumatua. “Its the beginning of the revitalisation of Taumarunui, and the council is extremely thankful to everyone who has been involved in the project” said Mayor Don.

The Rotary Club of Taumarunui knows that projects like these don’t happen without the drive and enthusiasm of individuals, and the club would really like to thank Don Buchanan for all the hard work he has put in, particularly picking up the project when Sue left Rotary, dealing with the bureaucratic obstacles and managing the demands of community groups. The total project budget was $23,000, but when all the community in kind work was added the total project value is closer to $40,000.