Tararua soars to new heights

Bush Telegraph - - Focus On Farming - By ALI­SON FRANKLIN Tararua Dis­trict Coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Con­nect Tararua Gov­er­nance team

A team of Welling­ton ex­perts in con­nec­tiv­ity de­scended on Dan­nevirke re­cently to meet with Con­nect Tararua’s Gov­er­nance team, Tararua Dis­trict Mayor Tracey Col­lis and key Tararua Dis­trict Coun­cil and Scan­power man­age­ment.

Mem­bers of the Ru­ral Con­nec­tiv­ity Group (RCG) man­age­ment team agreed to meet with the CT Gov­er­nance team to dis­cuss a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach to work­ing through the as­pi­ra­tions of the Tararua Dis­trict to solve the many ar­eas of dig­i­tal iso­la­tion ex­pe­ri­enced by its ru­ral res­i­dents.

A round-ta­ble dis­cus­sion led by Gov­er­nance Team Chair­man Tim Poul­ton looked at the many facets in­volved with en­sur­ing the ru­ral ar­eas of the dis­trict are better served with a net­work that will work for all the hills and val­leys of its rugged ter­rain.

“Desk-top mod­el­ling has its place but when it comes to look­ing at the most suit­able sites for tow­ers in ru­ral ar­eas, lo­cal knowl­edge, in­tense map­ping and thor­ough sur­vey­ing of the dis­trict res­i­dents, are the key to en­sur­ing we do this once and do it right,” Tim said.

“We have been made aware of what is in the RBI2 roll­out for the dis­trict and we be­lieve that Con­nect Tararua can add huge value to the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process based on the in­ten­sive sur­vey­ing, site-map­ping and road-map­ping with a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach be­ing the key.”

To date over 1900km of the dis­trict’s roads have been mapped for cell phone cov­er­age by the Con­nect Tararua team and Tararua Al­liance Road­ing in­spec­tors.

“The dis­tance we’ve cov­ered equates to driv­ing from Cape Reinga to Bluff,” Tim said. “And the re­sults are as­tound­ing and cer­tainly give weight to the need for far better con­nec­tiv­ity in our dis­trict for our health ser­vices to be able to op­er­ate to their fullest po­ten­tial, for farm­ers to be able to make use of the many tech­nolo­gies avail­able via the in­ter­net. One of the most im­por­tant things is to re­move the feel­ing of dig­i­tal iso­la­tion in a mod­ern world that re­lies on con­nec­tiv­ity for so many things.”

With the ex­per­tise of Alex Chit­tock of Tararua Heli­works, the team and vis­i­tors flew up to the top of the Friel’s hill in Kumeroa, land­ing on the site to show the RCG team the rugged­ness of the ter­rain.

Alex fer­ried the team across in three trips to the Africa site, on Tim Poul­ton’s farm.

“Alex looked af­ter us all ad­mirably, we felt very safe in his hands.” Tim said. “View­ing the dis­trict from these heights gives a whole new per­spec­tive of the chal­lenges ahead for con­nect­ing Tararua ef­fi­ciently.”

Team Lead Mel Poul­ton said she be­lieves the key to a suc­cess­ful out­come is for ev­ery­one to put their shoul­der to the plough and work in a col­lab­o­ra­tive way to get the best pos­si­ble re­sults.

“As a team, we have been work­ing on this for 18 months now and the count­less vol­un­teer hours that have been

put in are im­mea­sur­able. The team are very com­mit­ted and fo­cused on the best out­come for the whole of the dis­trict.”

Con­nect Tararua has re­cently sub­mit­ted an Ex­pres­sion of In­ter­est to the Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund for fund­ing of an ex­ten­sive fea­si­bil­ity study.

“Hours and hours of work went into get­ting the EOI right and now we have to play the wait­ing game for the out­come. If we get through this round, then we can go ahead and ap­ply for the fund­ing needed. With­out the sup­port of the Tararua Dis­trict Coun­cil and the PGF we would strug­gle to take this project to the next level” Mel said.

“Tararua Dis­trict Coun­cil has com­mit­ted five years of on-go­ing fund­ing to con­nec­tiv­ity in the dis­trict in the Long Term Plan. This is a demon­stra­tion of com­mit­ment to a better dig­i­tally con­nected dis­trict.”

ALEX Chit­tock of Tararua Heli­works, the team and vis­i­tors flew up to the top of the Friel’s hill in Kumeroa.

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