The village that ‘has it all’
‘‘It's a bit of a cliche to say, but this is what Godzone is all about.’’ Pat Coles
It might be a bit wide eyed, but people living in a small Waikato village think they have it all.
Being stuck in rush hour traffic like many just isn’t for them.
They can usually get home from Cambridge’s town centre, in peak hour traffic, and be enjoying their first glass of red wine in seven minutes.
Nestled into the hillside, Maungakawa Village has become a haven with stunning rural views and has the feel like the hit 1980s show Cheers, where you can escape the world and everyone knows your name.
Pat and Marie Coles have lived in the village for 14 years and seen it grow from 10 houses to 100.
It’s mainly families that have made the small village home, and Pat said all the children were known to everyone.
‘‘It’s a bit of a cliche to say, but this is what Godzone is all about.’’
The village offers the Coles the escape they both need from their busy careers.
Pat is involved in the fuel additive business and Marie works in the travel industry.
‘‘Every home is the hub of the community.’’
Special times are usually held down the road at the local politician’s house, and any social decisions - like the annual street party - are made over another glass of red wine.
The streets usually come alive over the weekend as a parade of sportspeople make their way up the hill and through the village as part of their training regime.
‘‘We’re used to them and they usually give us a wave as they pass through.’’
Newcomers to Maungakawa are made welcome as Australians Narelle and Grant Huggins found out.
‘‘They try to rag us about the Wallabies but we’re from the AFL stronghold of Victoria so it falls on deaf ears,’’ Narelle said.
A decision was made to update the town sign and Narelle, being an artist, volunteered her time to help.
She describes her sign as a ‘‘naive interpretation of a sentimental collection of the lifestyle of the village’’.
Nearly the entire community turned out for the unveiling of the sign, covered by a blue tarp from someone’s chook shed.
‘‘We were interested but really it was just another reason for everyone to get together,’’ Pat said.
‘‘After all that’s what a village does.’’
Left: Maungakawa residents Pat and Marie Coles have watched their village grow but the sense of community remains. Below: Families from The Maungakawa Village turned out for the unveiling of their new sign.