Research tool checks on Matamata’s vital signs
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.
Momentum Waikato chief executive Cheryl Reynolds launches Waikato Vital Signs.