2014 YEAR IN RE­VIEW

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO -

JAN­UARY - MARCH

Mem­o­rable re­unions, resthome up­grades and promis­ing rugby league fu­tures were the high­lights of the first quar­ter of 2014.

Prepa­ra­tions for the mem­o­rable Bill Gray’s Re­union were well un­der way in Jan­uary.

The event marked 14 years since the day the long-stand­ing New World owner died.

Two for­mer em­ploy­ees Stu­art Short and Wendy Cook or­gan­ised the re­union and look­ing back, Cook said it was well worth the ef­fort.

‘‘It was very suc­cess­ful, we are still get­ting feed­back and com­ments from peo­ple who weren’t there that wished they were’’.

Fe­bru­ary was an ex­cit­ing one for the Rangiura Char­i­ta­ble Trust which set out to com­plete a $4 mil­lion ex­pan­sion.

Con­struc­tion started on the homely up­grade in Novem­ber 2014 and is ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of May this year.

The fol­low­ing month was a spe­cial one for Toko­roa’s Jeremy Si­ulepa and his bud­ding rugby league ca­reer.

After just two months play­ing the fast­paced sport in Aus­tralia, Si­ulepa was se­lected to play for the New­cas­tle Knights grade two team.

He pulled on the No 12 jersey and took the field against fel­low Toko­roa boy and Pen­rith Pan­ther Isaac John, while good friend and then grade one Knights for­ward Zane Tete­vano sat on the bleach­ers with in­jury.

Re­flect­ing back on how the rest of his year played out, Si­ulepa re­mem­bered March as be­ing one of the best.

‘‘It just seemed un­real to me and I still can’t be­lieve it’s hap­pened...it was a spe­cial time for me and one I’d prob­a­bly share with my kids as they get older.’’

APRIL - JUNE

The voices of pro­test­ers, young and old, were heard loud and clear out­side Bridge St’s R18 shop in April - just one month be­fore the na­tion­wide ban of syn­thet­ics was brought in.

Julie King had fronted the town’s bat­tle since 2013 and nine months on, she be­lieved it was a bat­tle well fought. ‘‘It was the aim to get it banned.’’ What used to be a busy Bridge St shop now ap­pears lonely, ex­actly the way King wanted it.

The syn­thet­ics are still qui­etly be­ing sold, she said, but the ban has made it harder to ac­cess.

New begin­nings came to Pu­taruru’s Maori im­mer­sion school the fol­low­ing month with the open­ing of a new sports cen­tre in May.

The open­ing was only stage two of Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere’s 15-class­room up­grade for its 170 stu­dents.

Since then, prin­ci­pal Keith Sil­veira said the cen­tre had been a hit for stu­dents and the com­mu­nity.

"It’s been non-stop, there’s been netball train­ing and ex-stu­dents back, it’s been un­real."

Ninety-three year old Ste­wart Gray’s trans­port fears have been al­layed with the con­cept of a dis­trict-wide trans­port sys­tem fi­nally gain­ing trac­tion.

In June the Ti­rau res­i­dent faced the dilemma of hav­ing to leave town if he lost his li­cence due to the lack of pub­lic trans­port.

But South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil al­lo­cated $200,000 to in­ves­ti­gate op­tions from the $5 mil­lion com­mu­nity grant.

After months of dis­cus­sions amongst the newly formed steer­ing com­mit­tee, the wheels on the project fi­nally started to turn.

A trial has been set for late this month or early Fe­bru­ary. The route is planned for a re­turn trip from Toko­roa to Ti­rau as well as a ser­vice around Toko­roa.

JULY - SEPTEM­BER

The third quar­ter of 2014 high­lighted the com­mu­nity fo­cus in the South Waikato.

July was all about the re­vival of the Toko­roa High School Trust, brought to life after 10 years of hi­ber­na­tion.

The trust’s aim is to raise $1 mil­lion and invest the an­nual $20,000 to $40,000 in­ter­est on ed­u­ca­tional needs not funded by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

The seven trus­tees Dean Tereau, Brian Reid, Wayne Jowett, Graeme De­whurst, Wil­liam Ford, Teoko­tai Tarai, and chair­man Roger Som­merville have al­ready started build­ing on the ini­tial $88,000.

A fur­ther 10 $1000 pledges have been se­cured, Tereu said.

The fol­low­ing month the com­mu­nity cel­e­brated the sec­ond an­nual Fash­ion and Wear­able Arts Show which hosted a sell­out crowd.

A spec­ta­cle full of bright colours and in­no­va­tive de­signs at­tracted more than ex­pected to the Au­gust event.

The two night ex­trav­a­ganza, hosted by Toko­roa High School, at­tracted about 600 peo­ple.

Septem­ber was a vic­to­ri­ous month for Louise Up­ston who man­aged to scoop up a majority and win back her seat as the Taupo MP.

Up­ston se­cured a majority of more than 13,700 votes.

Na­tional got 48.1 per­cent of the party vote, which trans­lated to 61 seats in Par­lia­ment - enough to gov­ern alone. It was the first time un­der the cur­rent MMP sys­tem this had been the case.

OC­TO­BER - DE­CEM­BER

Prison-grown vegetables, decile fund­ing and Christ­mas took front of stage for the fi­nal months of the year.

An ini­tia­tive in­volv­ing grow­ing vegetables within Waik­e­ria Prison and us­ing the pro­duce in Love Soup’s Kids Kai pro­gramme was the cen­tre of at­ten­tion in Oc­to­ber.

Cen­tral School chil­dren were the first to pi­lot the pro­gramme.

Julie King made the first de­liv­ery and served a huge line of chil­dren.

This year King plans to cater to three schools and in the first term.

Prison- grown food was not the only change for the dis­trict’s schools after the Novem­ber decile-rat­ing re-shuf­fle left some with thou­sands ex­tra in the bud­get and oth­ers won­der­ing where to make cuts.

And some schools stayed at the same fund­ing level after the first re­cal­cu­la­tion in seven years.

Eight of the dis­trict’s schools went down in decile rat­ing with both Bishop Ed­ward Gaines Catholic and Lich­field schools drop­ping two lev­els.

Three of the Pu­taruru’s four schools moved up one decile rat­ing - Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa O Patetere, St Mary’s Catholic School and Pu­taruru Col­lege.

But there was noth­ing but cheer in the com­mu­nity come De­cem­ber when santa took a main street ride in three of the dis­trict’s towns.

Christ­mas Pa­rades were cel­e­brated in Toko­roa, Pu­taruru and Man­gakino.

Fund­ing reshuf­fle sees some schools with thou­sands ex­tra in the bud­get

Fash­ion and Wear­able Arts Show

Julie King

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