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Drop Auckland Anniversary Holiday Gets Support

April 10, 2006

Eastern Bay of Plenty Joins Campaign To Drop Auckland Anniversary Holiday

A campaign into the possibility of Bay of Plenty dropping the Auckland Anniversary holiday in favour of one of its own is gaining momentum – with some residents in Rotorua and Whakatane wanting to be involved.

Tauranga businessman Jim Smylie is funding a study into the option of the Bay of Plenty having it's own regional public holiday, but originally the idea was only discussed in the Western Bay.

"At first we had only thought about incorporating the greater Tauranga/Western Bay region. But as news of our campaign caught on we've found residents in the Eastern Bay expressing interest into making it a wider Bay of Plenty Day. We are happy to explore this option further but would like more feedback from people who live in Rotorua, Whakatane and Opotiki."

Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters is keen to see the whole of the Bay of Plenty celebrate a regional public holiday.

"I don't like the idea of having an Eastern Bay and a Western Bay day – that's a bit parochial. Let's get rid of the boundaries in the Bay, because the Bay of Plenty mayors are very much working collectively now for the growth of the region."

Mayor Winters says if the Bay of Plenty was looking for an anniversary to celebrate he would recommend November 25 as the date Ngati Whakaue gifted 3000 acres of land to the town of Rotorua in 1880.

"Another date could be June 10. This year on June 10 it will be 120 years since Mount Tarawera erupted.

"I understand these dates have significance to Rotorua but perhaps not the rest of the Bay of Plenty, so perhaps we could just have a 'Bay Day' or 'Plenty Day' when residents could celebrate living in the Bay rather than celebrating a specific event."

Smylie agrees. His opinion is if the entire Bay of Plenty was to share a regional holiday it would make sense to drop the word 'anniversary' rather than try to find a significant date that suited all centres.

An online survey is running for two more weeks and those interested in having their say should log onto www.thesun.co.nz to register.

So far results show that 74 percent of people think the Bay of Plenty should observe its own regional holiday rather than Auckland Anniversary Day.

Many of those who think the holiday shouldn't be changed, cite reasons such as it being easier for business when both Tauranga and Auckland have a public holiday on the same day, or family reasons.

"I'd like to see the holiday stay the same to enable family working in the Auckland area to share and enjoy a long weekend with family here in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga," one respondent wrote.

Others are adamant that the Bay is not part of Auckland and should not be associated with it.

"We don't belong to Auckland! We have our own unique identity."

"How did we get stuck with Auckland Anniversary Day in the first place - who's crazy idea was it? Bay Of Plenty is mature enough by now to have its own anniversary day so let's go to it. I'm sure Auckland couldn't care less."

Fifty five percent of survey participants have also indicated they would like the holiday to be moved to another time of year. August is leading as the favoured alternative with 22.5 percent of the votes.

"We have public holidays in February, April, June October and December. There is a reasonable gap of four months between Queens Birthday and Labour Weekend. A holiday in August would create a great flow – a public holiday every two months."

Bay of Plenty residents are urged to participate in the online survey, which takes two minutes to fill in, by registering at www.thesun.co.nz


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