Every 10 years, we have the opportunity to shape the future of our communities and our rural environment by reviewing the District Plan. Our District Plan review is well underway now, with the early versions of new zones, policies and rules being drafted. The District Plan tells us what we can and can’t do with our land, where we can subdivide, what activities we can do and where we can do them. Council would like to thank the Piopio, Benneydale and Waitomo Caves Village communities for the great feedback received during the open days in late June and early July. This feedback has been compiled and will form an integral part of planning for these townships. The Structure and Concept Plans for each of these three communities are currently in a draft form and will be reviewed by Council before being released for a second round of community consultation in the coming months. Progress has also been made on the Te Kuiti Town Concept Plan and the Mokau Structure Plan. These have been considered by Council in detail. Open days will be held in both of these communities in the near future to ensure that we have properly understood the vision residents have for their towns. Council held a series of open days in Mokau, Marokopa and Te Waitere during August to discuss ongoing work on coastal hazards management. In each of these places there was a good community turnout to hear what the coastal scientists had to share. This information will be made available on the District Plan review webpage. Council is proposing to hold further discussions with landowners in the Mokau Spit area and Rauparaha Street, Marokopa, later in the year. The Structure Plans, Town Concept Plans and the work being undertaken on coastal hazards management will be used in the development of our new District Plan. Staff are currently working with a number of specialists to collect information which will help us to make decisions about potential new rules and policies. At the moment, ecologists are working on identifying areas of significant indigenous biodiversity throughout the District. There are also projects underway to identify outstanding landscapes and to identify possible heritage buildings and cultural sites. Our website will be updated as new information becomes available. You can follow these updates at www.waitomo.govt.nz/district-plan-review/ Council will also be starting work on flooding and land instability hazards over the summer months. Initial changes proposed to zoning have been shared with the Benneydale, Piopio, Waitomo Caves Village Marokopa, Te Waitere and Kinohaku communities. We will add these changes to the District Plan review webpage soon. At the moment our focus is on providing the right kind of zoning to encourage different types of activities. The process is iterative which means we will be considering feedback and changes to the zoning over the coming months in order to reflect the needs of our communities. There is a lot happening – so do get involved, as we are interested in your thoughts and input into this process. Facebook Twitter Instagram Website
ShakeOut our national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is taking place on Thursday 18th October 2018, 9.30am. It’s a great way for everyone to practise the right action to take during an earthquake – Drop, Cover and Hold – and to plan your tsunami hīkoi (evacuation walk) if you’re in a coastal area. For more information visit www.shakeout.govt.nz/share Creative Communities Grant Applications close on Thursday 1st November 2018. For more information visit our website. Brook Park Fireworks Extravaganza. Proudly bought to you by the Brook Park Committee. Saturday 10th November 2018. Waitomo District Christmas Parade. Friday 14th December 2018. Start planning your Christmas float now! Entry forms will be made available on our website soon.
Have you recently relocated to the Waitomo District? We would like to hear from you once you’ve settled in. We can make sure all your details are up to date in our system, so you can be kept informed on topics of interest, such as dog registration and rates. Our welcome pack contains information about our services and facilities, and local sights and activities. You can collect a pack from our Queen Street Office in Te Kuiti.
Are you a low income home owner? Do you know you could receive help with your annual rates? If you have a low income, live at the property and pay the rates on your home, you could receive a rebate up to $630 off your rates bill. The income abatement threshold is $25,180. To find out if you are eligible for a rates rebate you can check online at www.waitomo.govt.nz/rates-rebate contact our Customer Services Team on (07) 878 0800 or pop into the Library, i-SITE or Council office to discuss. Applications for the 2018/19 rating year close 30 June 2019. A rebate application form is to be completed yearly. You cannot apply for previous year rebates.
We are delighted with the Government announcement of a funding package in support of responsible camping. Our aim is to provide a better experience for visitors to our district and to manage the growing demands that tourist activity has on our core infrastructure and environment. The $269,000 has been secured for Te Kuiti and Mokau and will be used for:
  • Cooking and ablution facilities at Brook Park.
  • Hire and servicing of temporary toilets for the Mokau community. This is a temporary arrangement to cover the peak holiday period of December 2018 – March 2019.
  • Planning for both of these projects is now underway.
  • Future upgrades of public toilets
The LTP 2018-28 makes provision for toilet upgrades for Mokau in 2018/19 and Waitomo Village in 2019/20. Both projects are subject to obtaining 50% of the costs of these upgrades from the Government’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF). We are preparing to apply for the next funding round (application date yet to be announced).
Our aim is to support the growth of our local economy by effectively promoting our district. We partner with Hamilton and Waikato Regional Tourism to market our district as a ’must visit’ destination, both nationally and internationally. The following are a few of the publications, events and marketing opportunities that have helped to promote our District.
  • Kia Ora magazine, Arrivals magazine and Go Travel magazine.
  • ‘Explore Central North Island’ collective which is an international marketing alliance with Rotorua, Taupō, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Ruapehu and Hawke’s Bay regional tourism organisations.
  • ‘Explore your Own Backyard’ campaign; encouraging locals to explore the Hamilton & Waikato region over the Christmas period, and purchase activity vouchers as Christmas gifts.
  • Short Escapes domestic marketing campaign; targeted key markets of Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch, and our neighbouring regions of Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.
  • Travel trade event in Sydney for the Middle-earth partnership product, Experience The Trilogy.
  • Waitomo Adventures was featured in the Air New Zealand safety video and Hairy Feet Waitomo was used as a television commercial backdrop during the Superbowl.
  • Annual visitor expenditure has continued to climb for Waitomo District and reached a total of $77 million for the year ending December 2017 – a 13% increase from 2016. Latest visitor spend data shows domestic visitors are contributing $45 million into the district’s economy, with international visitors bringing in $35 million for the year ending January 2018.
What do plastic bottles, soup cans, printer paper, cardboard boxes, mobile phones, and banana skins have in common? They all have the potential to be recycled, but only if your household separates these items from the general rubbish. There is no cost to recycle these items at the Landfill and transfer stations: Paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, aluminium and tin cans, and glass bottles and jars (green, clear, brown). Only plastics marked with 1 or 2 can be recycled Drop-off old mobile phones, chargers, and batteries in the collection bin at Waitomo District Council. Low cost recycling and great rewards! Composting using a compost bin is a low-cost natural recycling system that requires little effort and knowledge. It reduces your waste disposal costs, the impact on our landfill and improves the condition of your soil; helping you grow an amazing vegetable and flower garden. All of your food scraps like vegetables and fruits and their peelings, tea bags, egg shells and plant trimmings, wood shavings, and leaves can go in the compost bin. All it takes is a little time and effort… An extra 10 minutes a day spent on separating the recyclable waste from general rubbish will save you money, and you will be doing your bit to reduce our impact on the environment.
Centrally located on Rora Street, Te Kuiti, our i-SITE team are travel experts and can help you to find the sort of activities, attractions, accommodation and transport that only a local would know. Whether you are planning a day out or a special trip away, come in and chat to our friendly team. Our i-SITE is an agent for all major rail, bus and ferry operators, so we can take care of all your transport bookings, helping to create an unforgettable, stress-free and rewarding New Zealand holiday. Looking for a gift? Come in and check out our range of quality gifts and souvenirs or we can create a package suited to your needs. With summer just around the corner, the Te Kuiti i-SITE will be open on Saturday’s. From 1 November 2018 to 30 April 2019: Monday to Friday – 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday – 10 am to 2 pm, Sunday – closed. Public Holidays 10 am to 2 pm, closed Christmas and Boxing Day. Come in and chat to our friendly team about your next holiday!
We carried out a Resident Survey (RS) to better understand community views on a wide range of services and activities delivered by Council. The survey enables us to gauge people’s opinions about our services and facilities, and identify priorities for improvement in our service delivery. The annual survey is an important reporting method used by WDC to measure how we perform against our goals and to analyse trends over time to help with our future planning. Some of our services and activities covered by the survey are roads and footpaths, water supply, cemeteries, public toilets, library and aquatic centre. The survey was open to the public during mid-June 2018, and 191 Waitomo district residents took part, of which 84% were ratepayers. Similar to previous years, the largest portion of respondents were from Te Kuiti, and aged 60 years and over. All of Council’s 14 activity targets were achieved this year and we are very pleased with this result. The following graph shows our survey results against 2017/18 performance targets. Residents comments covered various topics such as the need for investment in facilities to support tourism, a need for more residential housing, speed limits on local roads and State Highways, road maintenance and upgrades, and promoting the District and local businesses. Quite a few comments made by respondents related to issues and services that are not under the jurisdiction of Council i.e. residential housing and state highways. While Council will continue to advocate on behalf of our community, these are not services that we provide. We believe it is important to understand how satisfied residents are with the services it provides to the communities in the District. Where there is scope for improvement in the eyes of the community this can be factored into our planning for future service levels. Congratulations to the winners of the Survey Prize Draw – Janis MacDonald and Jack Harold Davis. We would like to thank all the Waitomo district residents and ratepayers for having their say through the Resident Survey. Our financial and non-financial (activity) performance will be reported on through the Annual Report for the financial year 2017/18. Council will receive the Annual Report at the October monthly Council meeting. The full Annual Report and a Summary Report will be made available to the public on our website. The Survey Report is available to view here: www.waitomo.govt.nz/publications

  • Benneydale’s new public toilets were announced as a finalist in the Keep NZ Beautiful ‘Best Loo’ Awards in August. The winner will be announced at the Beautiful Awards Gala Dinner, in Auckland, on Friday 26 October. The toilets featured on TV One’s Breakfast Show on Monday 17th September, as part of a promotion for the upcoming awards. Presenter Sam Kalway was joined on camera by students from Benneydale Primary School, who did a wonderful job. You can view this at TVNZ OnDemand.
  • Playground equipment has now been installed in the rest area on Mine Road Benneydale. We are also installing a Big Belly Rubbish Bin in this location to help keep Benneydale free of litter.
  • The Waitomo District Aquatic Centre has received some much needed improvements to ensure this great facility is well maintained and ready for summer. The pool was re-painted recently and is looking fantastic. The pools opened for the summer season on October 1. The team from Community Leisure Management (CLM) will once again be managing the day-to-day operation of the facility. For all enquiries please phone (07) 878 8803.
  • Our work in and around the band rotunda at Brook Park is now complete, and this area is looking great!
  • We have been busy in the garden area at the Les Munro Centre. Our team have constructed a lovely water feature, and have extended the Fairy Magnolia plants around the perimeter of the fence to create a more private environment for weddings and special events.
“To tātou reo, ki tua – Our voice, your future” The 2018/19 Waitomo District Youth Council were officially inducted on Thursday 26 July 2018 in the Council Chambers. The students from Te Kuiti High School, Te Wharekura o Maniapoto and Piopio College are a team of diverse young people aged 14-18 years. Council members are (photo from left): Tawhirirangi Thompson (Te Wharekura o Maniapoto), Puhiwaiora Ngawaka (Te Wananga o Aotearoa), Justez Howe (Te Kuiti High School), Paige Te Miringa Coffin-Bell (Piopio College), Raiden Van Herpen (Te Kuiti High School), Ngarangi Barrett (Te Kuiti High School), Xavier Turner (Piopio College), Savahna Curtis (Piopio College), Ria Ngatai (Te Kuiti High School), Taetia Kopa (Te Kuiti High School), joined by Clowdy Ngatai – WDC’s Community Development Coordinator, Mayor Brian Hanna, and Councillor Janene New. Absent: Moana Te Aretoa (Te Wharekura o Maniapoto), Tangirau Papa (Te Wharekura o Maniapoto), Makarena Te Moana Papaku-Stephens (Te Wharekura o Maniapoto). The Waitomo District Youth Council’s term kicked off with a planning and team building activity in Rotorua which also involved creating the group’s work programme. In August, the group organised and hosted a free family night at the Piopio Memorial Hall, featuring the Disney film ‘Moana’. We had a great turnout from the community, with many families enjoying the positive family environment and singing along to the theme songs. We would like to say thanks to all the families for their support in making this event a success.
Waitomo’s Got Talent We are very excited to announce the Youth Council’s next activity – Waitomo’s Got Talent. The details of this event are currently being finalised. The aim is to provide our talented youth with an opportunity to shine and perform on stage. We have prizes up for grabs including $500 for the winning performance. Video auditions, judging, and finals will be held in the lead-up to the Brook Park Fireworks Extravaganza on the 10th November. We invite families to enjoy a picnic in the park and support the performances. The Youth Council will be organising a ‘money or the bag’ activity to enhance the fantastic Fireworks event, while working in partnership with the committee.
2017/18 Youth Council achievements Waitomo District Youth Council (WDYC) for the 2017/18 term included a group of positive and focussed students from both Te Kuiti High School, Piopio College, and Te Wharekura O Maniapoto. Tawhirirangi Thompson, Justez Howe, Jessica Schrafft, Raiden Van Herpen, Puhiwaiora Ngawaka, Taylor Allen, Xavier Turner, Tangirau Papa, Sam Benthem, Makarena Moana, Shakaya Winikerei, Maija Stephens, Vwaru Mathews. The WDYC completed the following activities during the 2017/18 term: Hosting a free family movie night at the Piopio Hall on the 25th August 2017 showcasing the film ‘The Lion King’. Participation in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) week and supporting others in the community. Organising the entertainment for the Brook Park Fireworks Extravaganza, to highlight community talent and add value to this amazing event; in partnership with the Brook Park Committee and the Maniapoto Family Violense Intervention Network (in the launch of their Champions project). Participation in the Waitomo District Christmas Parade on Friday 8th December. The WDYC worked alongside WDC on creating a ‘Child’s Christmas Magic’ themed float. Participation in WDC’s Long Term Plan 2018-28 process; consulting with peers in all three secondary schools, consolidating the feedback and presenting to Council as part of the hearing process. We would like to congratulate the WDYC on their achievements for the 2017/18 term. Thank you for your commitment to encouraging young people in our communities to participate in positive activities.
For the past 12 months, the WDYC has been re-established within the formal WDC environment which has worked very well. The young people have had the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and we hope to continue to nurture that. The 2018/19 plans are underway and again I am impressed with how capable these young people are of managing the demands, tasks, and deadlines that come with being a member of the WDYC. Thank you to all our re-standing and new members and to the whanau, friends and the school communities who support them. Ngā Mihi nui- Mayor Brian