Proud to live and cel­e­brate in our district

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Conversations - HE­LEN WOR­BOYS, MANAWATU¯ MAYOR

The num­ber of pos­i­tive ac­tiv­i­ties and cel­e­bra­tions over the past month makes you feel proud to live in the Manawatu¯ District.

The Keep Feild­ing Beau­ti­ful team won the New Zealand’s Most Beau­ti­ful Town Award again for the 16th time.

This ac­knowl­edges the out­stand­ing amount of vol­un­tary work our com­mu­nity does, with projects like plant­ings, paint­ing bridges, lit­ter col­lec­tions and en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tiv­i­ties. Well done! Given the great work that’s also be­ing done in our vil­lages, let’s see some ap­pli­ca­tions next year, to bring home New Zealand’s Most Beau­ti­ful Vil­lage award too.

More than 30 res­i­dents, from around the globe, were sworn in as New Zealand cit­i­zens at a spe­cial coun­cil cer­e­mony. Their sto­ries of why they choose Manawatu¯ as their new home are var­ied and fas­ci­nat­ing, with some heart-wrench­ing tales of why they left their home coun­try seek­ing a brighter fu­ture in New Zealand.

The Manawatu¯ District Young Achiev­ers Awards recog­nised the ef­forts of 53 stu­dents from dis­trictwide schools. Noth­ing to do with aca­demic achieve­ments, these awards cel­e­brate our young peo­ple who are nat­u­rally in­spi­ra­tional lead­ers, give 110 per cent ef­fort to ev­ery­thing they do, care for oth­ers around them, em­brace our cul­tural di­ver­sity and our chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment .

A new cat­e­gory ‘Agri Youth’ recog­nised young peo­ple who love get­ting their hands dirty and have po­ten­tial for a ca­reer in agri­cul­ture or hor­ti­cul­ture.

Ru­ral Day was an­other suc­cess­ful ‘grass roots’ com­mu­nity event. The farm an­i­mals, ma­chin­ery, ru­ral ac­tiv­i­ties and crazy com­pe­ti­tions, sup­ported by lo­cal businesses, vol­un­teers groups and in­di­vid­u­als again show­cased agri­cul­ture as the back­bone of our com­mu­nity, in a fun way.

Our ru­ral schools have just had their re­spec­tive pet days, with the cham­pion pets now go­ing on this week­end to the cham­pi­onships event.

The huge ef­fort made by par­ents, grand­par­ents, care­givers, teach­ers, judges and sup­port­ers en­cour­ag­ing our youth to care for an­i­mals is fan­tas­tic to see.

It was a priv­i­lege to open the New Zealand Rhodo­den­dron Con­fer­ence with 160 peo­ple at­tend­ing, many com­ing from around the world. They spent a few days here ex­pe­ri­enc­ing our hos­pi­tal­ity, vis­it­ing our re­gion’s gar­dens and trav­el­ling the ‘Coun­try Road’ route around Manawatu¯ . The pos­i­tive com­ments again ce­mented how proud we should all be, of our town and district.

Then there is the out­stand­ing achieve­ment by Daphne Sowerby, a lo­cal lady who is about to cel­e­brate rais­ing $100,000 for the Hospice over many years sell­ing bak­ing, plants, morn­ing teas and so on.

Daphne at 87 years old is re­luc­tantly re­tir­ing from her fundrais­ing ef­forts. She and many oth­ers like her are our un­sung vol­un­teers who qui­etly beaver away in the back­ground do­ing great work for oth­ers less for­tu­nate than them­selves.

Which brings me to Whanau Day this Sun­day. All res­i­dents are in­vited to join me to show we care about each other, given the tragic syn­thetic drug in­ci­dent re­cently.

Fol­low­ing the pub­lic meet­ing a task­force was set up to ac­tion some of the ideas put for­ward. Our free Whanau Day of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to have fun to­gether, start­ing with a com­mu­nity walk from the Clock Tower to Vic­to­ria Park.

The new Fit­ness Zone will be opened, fol­lowed by games, bar­be­cue, dis­plays and ac­tiv­i­ties in the park and a free swim at the Makino Pool to fin­ish.

This day is pos­si­ble due to the many vol­un­teers, agen­cies and businesses who strongly be­lieve in the power of com­mu­nity to sup­port our young peo­ple. See you there!

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