Matamata-Piako looking to the future
Making Matamata-Piako a place of choice is the vision for the District Council. “We are proud of what we have here and we want to ensure that pride is passed to the community,” says Matamata-Piako District Mayor Ash Tanner.
“Our towns are growing and that’s a good sign people are not only choosing to move here, but choosing to stay and work, raise families, and retire,” he said.”Further growth in the district is on the horizon.
Late last year council sent in two applications to the Provincial Growth Fund totalling $1.9million, one for a feasibility study and business case into making Te Aroha Domain into a Health and Wellness Tourism Hub, and the other a feasibility study into building an industry hub at Waharoa.
“People come to Te Aroha to take to the waters for relaxation or to soothe tired muscles following a hike up Mount Te Aroha or cruising the Hauraki Rail Trail, all of which create a good atmosphere for people visiting Te Aroha,” says Ash. “But we don’t want good, we want it to be great and make it a must do for anyone exploring New Zealand,” he says.
“A feasibility study and business case will tell us what the domain’s full potential is and how that can benefit the district and the wider Waikato region.” An industrial hub for Waharoa would explore the possibility of multiple industries establishing them-selves there.
Its rural setting means there’s plenty of room for growth, the railway runs right through its centre and with being central to Auckland and the Port of Tauranga, it’s an ideal spot.
The economy and rural community could thrive with the establishment of an employment hub as well as encouraging smaller businesses to open or relocate there.
Tourism looks set to boom in the district with the extension of the Hauraki Rail Trail from Te Aroha to Matamata, which will cover 38.5km from Te Aroha Railway Station to the Matamata Trailhead at Railside by the Green.
More than 90,000 cyclers ride the Hauraki Rail Trail every year, and this number is expected to increase to 130,000 annually.
The council has been meeting with the business communities to help them take advantage of the opportunities that the Rail Trail extension will provide.
It has also been strengthening ties within the business community with the implementation of the Big Business Breakfast, an opportunity to network with business owners/managers in the district, learning where the needs are within the sector. The council celebrates success by hosting the annual Matamata-Piako business awards.
Not only is it helping businesses thrive, it is also growing young leaders. Three years ago it formed the Volunteer Youth Ambassadors (VYA) to speak for youth in the district.
“Very few Councils around the country have youth representation, so we are thrilled to be able to offer this to our young people in the community,” says Mayor Tanner.
He says the past year has been exciting and there has been amazing growth in the communities. But he knows there’s still much to be done and by working alongside the community, it’s poised to flourish.
“Working with the community is one of our core values and I believe this should be our main focus. Together we are making this district ‘a place of choice’.”
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