Expo seeks to get Kaikohe back on the front foot

Thursday 9 June 2011, 11:12AM
By Far North District Council


A new initiative to regenerate Kaikohe and rekindle a sense of pride and achievement will be launched with a community "Expo" scheduled for 22 June 2011.

The Kaikohe Expo is designed to bring community ideas together, promote self-help initiatives, provide common ground to strengthen the local economy and foster a new sense of community in the mid-north service centre.

The initiative, which is being driven by the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board, seeks to draw inspiration from within the community by highlighting major Kaikohe projects which are either already underway or are about to be launched.

The Expo has been designed around the opportunities for growth that will be generated for the town from the Pou Herenga Tai –Twin Coast Cycle Trail.

 It will draw on projects such as the Kaikohe Food Cooperative and a community garden concept, ideas for a substantial upgrade to Library Square, business improvement initiatives, Ngapuhi Asset Holding Company proposals, and re-branding initiatives designed to raise the town's profile and sense of self-worth.

The Expo will be staged in the former Beds R Us building on Broadway and will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be information on a potentially major central business district re-vitalisation proposal still in the very early stages of development. The concept proposes a central hub to market Kaikohe and foster the development of commercial initiatives linked to projects such as the cycle trail.

"The idea is to let people know about the very positive proposals which are already on the drawing board and to rally community support and enthusiasm to help bring these concepts to fruition. If you want to be involved, the Expo is an opportunity to register your interest," board chair Win Stephens says.

"This is our town and unless we are self-motivated, nobody is going to do it for us.

 "To break from the doom and gloom scenario and capitalise on the magnificent opportunities to go forward, we need to do it together. We have to give people a reason to get in behind their town and work for and not against progress.

"It's been many years since there has been so much happening behind the scenes at the same time. If we can combine forces and agree on common goals, these things can become a reality and the whole community will get a spinoff," he says.

In the Western Ward, Kaikohe together with Ohaeawai, Okaihau, Kohukohu and Opononi/Omapere had already completed Community Plans and the Expo would be an opportunity to further explain the objectives and to look for ideas to give practical application to the plans.

"We want to maximise our opportunities with the impetus that is coming through from the cycle trail, the moves to revitalise the use of community facilities such as Lindvart Park, the Northland College refurbishment and both public and private sector proposals for the town centre. These can be catalysts for employment and for economic recovery.

"The Expo is primarily about better utilising the resources we already have and setting realistic goals that can be achieved with the financial resources available," he says.

In addition to static displays there would be representatives available to explain more about the projects currently on the drawing board, spot prizes for those calling into the venue through the day and light entertainment to showcase some of Kaikohe's talent.