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New blood to help Vision Motueka tackle challenges

February 4th, 2016

Eva Lawrence

Renee Thomas

Two new trustees were elected at the Vision Motueka AGM last night as the community development group looks to new challenges in project work and community engagement.

Eva Lawrence and Renee Thomas offer not only their services and special skills to the board's mix, but also significantly reduce its average age.

Both have significant experience in community development work and governance responsibilities. Eva served as an appointed trustee for the second half of 2015 after she authored the well received report of findings of the Motueka 2030 project.

In his AGM report Vision Motueka chairman David Armstrong reviewed the group's achievements of 2015 and introduced what he saw as the challenges ahead.

He said the highlight of 2015 was running the Motueka 2030 community consultation programme throughout the month of May. "Around 1000 Motuekans took part in one way or another, telling us and each other what we thought would make the community stronger into the future," he said.

"By asking the questions, listening and researching, we discovered what our community really wants, not what we think or hope they want.

"We held a half dozen public meetings, ran a large-scale questionnaire, fed discussion on a very active Facebook group, and so on. In the end we published a comprehensive document of our findings, which we hope will be used well into the future by us as well as our town and community planners."

Other achievements or improvements mentioned included:

  • Reconstitution of the board to include representatives of leading community organisations.
  • The painting of the fourth mural, themed "Our river", on the Whitwells wall.
  • A partnership with Good Sports Motueka in the swimming pool fundraising project.
  • A leading contribution to a community team which aims to put together the first of an annual community Harvest Festival event in Autumn 2017.
  • Continued involvement with TDC in strategic planning of a new library, the anchor facility of a community and visitor hub on the side of Decks Reserve.
  • A leading facilitator and contributor to the Council's submission to government to roll out ultrafast broadband (UFB) to Motueka.
  • More formal and informal engagement with iwi.
  • More community engagement through our Facebook page, and especially the 770-member "Motueka 2030" Facebook group.

David said the organisation's vision and work is developing in two streams: specific project execution, and community engagement and vision development.

"Pretty well all our projects now are collaborations or partnerships with other groups, such as the swimming pool, library, harvest festival and UFB.

"While these have been developing, we have somewhat neglected our earlier grass-roots connections. Apart from the work of the Motueka 2030 consultation, we've been less involved in talking with residents about their community development ideas.

"I believe project execution is a matter of governance for the whole board, including trustees and the six partner representatives, because most of our active projects are being done in partnership with other groups or people.

"But how Vision Motueka engages with the community and develops and implements the vision we hold as our mission is a matter primarily for our trustees. Our partner representatives are representing their own organisations which have their own philosophies."

  David ended with a two-part proposition for the trustees to ponder. First, that the full board - trustees and partner representatives - meet every two months rather than monthly, their main task being to monitor projects and partnerships and the health of the full trust including its finances.

Second, that the seven trustees meet every other month without the partner representatives, to consider policy, how they engage with the community, and how to continue the development of the group's vision for the future of the town.

Read the full chairman's report here.


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