Letter to Manukau
Letter to Manukau
Friday 21 March 2008
In this update
· Two Park Openings
· Turangawaewae Visit
· Support for graffiti Bill
This week I have been out and about at great occasions within Manukau and beyond its boundaries.
Two Park Openings
Last Friday night I attended the reopening of the premier rugby ground at Bell Park, Pakuranga.
I was there, alongside Sir Barry Curtis, in recognition of the transfer of the land at Bell Park to the ownership, care and maintenance of our council.
It was a fabulous occasion and the Pakuranga rugby club can be rightly proud of having one of the premier rugby fields in the Auckland region.
The ground has a wonderful spongy surface.
I stepped onto it to show off ... NOT! … my rugby ball kicking skills to the many club supporters and junior players present.
I was asked to try to kick the ball over the goal posts from the 22 metre mark and I made a heroic attempt, with the ball shaving the right upright.
My shoe, which came off in the process, was closer to the mark, just dropping underneath the cross bar.
It was a great night and made even more so by the presence of All Black legend Waka Nathan.
On Sunday, we opened Crawford Park, a new reserve, on the site of the old Howick Bus Company depot on the corner of Picton St and Ridge Rd.
It is a fabulous small park which will benefit people from Howick and the whole city.
It is beautifully constructed, highlighting the outlooks over Howick Beach and to the Firth of Thames.
The occasion was capped off by Uxbridge, Howick’s Creative Centre, which arranged the musical performance in the park. Many locals were present.
It was great to have school children from Howick Primary there. They added their voices in support of the singers.
I’m looking forward to going to many family occasions in that park, celebrating our community and our various musical talents.
Last weekend I also had the pleasure of being hosted by King Tuheitia and his wife Te Atawhai at Turangawaewae Marae for their Regatta Day.
I have long hoped that, on behalf of the city, I would have an opportunity to be welcomed onto this most hallowed ground and speak at this most historic of marae.
It was a very humbling experience being taken onto the marae by the Honourable Koro Wetere, being greeted by a Maori challenge (wero) followed by a spine-tingling haka from the hosts.
I took my wife and three children with me.
Among other guests taken onto the marae was the ambassador of Switzerland with his wife and three sons. We were all welcomed by the King and his wife and three children.
This was tremendous symbolism and a great day for our respective families.
Support for graffiti Bill
This week, I was accompanied by Councillor Dick Quax in presenting Manukau City Council’s submission on the government’s anti-graffiti legislation.
Our council and especially former mayor Sir Barry Curtis have been trying for a long time to persuade Parliament to change the law on this hugely significant issue for our people.
We have wanted Parliament to give us the tools to assist in the eradication of graffiti in our community.
We hosted Parliament’s Law and Order select committee in hearings in Manukau, which was an appropriate place for them to be.
We are very pleased the government is moving speedily on getting this legislation through with the support of Parliament.
It is picking up most of what was in our Manukau Bill.
We have tried and tried to persuade people that graffiti vandalism and tagging is not art.
Our community has justifiably had enough of it and we can confidently look forward to approaches which will reduce graffiti in our streets by 95 percent.
This has been a significant step in the right direction.
Easter is a special time of the year for Christians and a wide range of people.
Our city has a proportionately large number of churches where many of our people will spend Easter Friday and Sunday reflecting on the death and resurrection of Christ.
It is also a holiday time, where children take their first big break in the school year.
Families also take time to enjoy themselves and relax.
During this season, I wish you all peace and good company with your families.
Finally, I would like to welcome Michael Otto as my new communications advisor.
I encourage people to communicate with me by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor of Manukau