Re­search tool checks on Mata­mata’s vi­tal signs

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - EL­TON RIKIHANA SMALLMAN

Mata­mata is part of a Waikato wide com­mu­nity check-up that re­ports on the so­cial, en­vi­ron­men­tal, cul­tural and eco­nomic well-be­ing of Waikato com­mu­ni­ties.

Waikato Vi­tal Signs is a com­pre­hen­sive snap­shot of Mata­mata-Pi­ako, Hamil­ton and the Waikato dis­trict put to­gether by Mo­men­tum Waikato Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Ch­eryl Reynolds said the tool will help con­nect com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives with fi­nan­cial donors to trans­form the re­gion.

‘‘It’s not just an aca­demic ex­er­cise,’’ Reynolds said. ’’It’s a com­bi­na­tion of tak­ing the full proof, bul­let­proof facts and tak­ing those to the com­mu­nity and ask­ing them, very care­fully, what does that mean?’’

In May, more than 400 Waikato res­i­dents dis­cussed what they thought was most im­por­tant.

Those talks led to the ‘‘Top 10 things we love about our place.’’

Ris­ing to the top was an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the dif­fer­ences that make up the Waikato com­mu­nity.

The top pri­or­ity is work­ing to­gether to ‘‘im­prove com­mu­nity con­nect­ed­ness’’.

Youth, hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity, the econ­omy and jobs round out the top five pri­or­i­ties. Reynolds said it’s in­spir­ing. ‘‘The one thing they love the most about our place is our di­ver­sity,’’ she said. ’’I love our di­ver­sity and I love the fact it seems to be the num­ber one thing.’’

The first layer of num­bers was re­leased re­cently.

It in­cludes our age­ing pop­u­la­tion, the eth­nic make-up, so­cial de­pri­va­tion and, ‘‘If we were 100 peo­ple’’ in an easy-to-read for­mat.

Also in­cluded is a look at the wel­fare of Waikato’s chil­dren.

The most vul­ner­a­ble in our com­mu­nity are more abused, more de­prived and less ed­u­cated at an early age than the na­tional av­er­age.

Reynolds said change comes from know­ing the good, the bad and the ugly.

‘‘The cru­cial step was to lis­ten, to take this to the com­mu­nity and ask: What does this mean to us in terms of where we are now and where we are head­ing as a com­mu­nity?’’

Vi­tal Signs was bor­rowed from Canada, where it started in the mid2000s.

More in­for­ma­tion on the Waikato com­mu­nity, cul­ture and econ­omy, ed­u­ca­tion and en­vi­ron­ment, health and recre­ation, iwi Maori and youth voices will be made avail­able in the fol­low­ing weeks.

Data is pro­vided by Waikato Uni­ver­sity’s Na­tional In­sti­tute of De­mo­graphic and Eco­nomic Anal­y­sis. The seven phil­an­thropic part­ners in­clude Ngati Hauaa Iwi Trust, Waikato-Tainui, DV Bryant Trust, NAR Foun­da­tion, Trust Waikato, WEL En­ergy and Mo­men­tum.

FAIRFAX NZ

Mo­men­tum Waikato chief ex­ec­u­tive Ch­eryl Reynolds launches Waikato Vi­tal Signs.

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