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Kawerau 60th birthday success praised

Kawerau 60th birthday success praised

Visitors from around the country had high praise for a successful weekend to celebrate Kawerau’s 60th birthday on the 29th and 30th of March 2014.

Kawerau turned on a picture-perfect autumn day for the Cultural Day in Prideaux Park featuring music, dance and kapa haka, static displays, food stalls, top club demonstrations and generation games. The warm weather was matched by Kawerau’s warm hospitality for the large number of guests from New Zealand and overseas.

More than 300 people attended the Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum opening of ‘1954 - A Year of Beginnings’. Chris Marjoribanks welcomed the Mayor and Liisa Wana, who arrived in Kawerau from Finland as a teenager in 1954. Angus Fletcher, grandson of Sir James Fletcher, was also a guest of honour at the opening. Displays included amateur footage shot in 1954 showing people living and working around the community.

The weekend was full of stories from Kawerau’s past and present, some at the birthday dinner and show at the Cosmopolitan Club which was sold out more than a week in advance. There was a surprise guest appearance at the dinner from ex-Kawerau girl Whirimako Black, who performed a few jazz numbers during the meal.

Three-term Councillor and owner of the Bay of Plenty’s first supermarket, Ron Wells, returned to Kawerau to organise a reunion of retailers and business people. There was also combined church service in the Town Hall that celebrated the history of the different denominations in Kawerau working together for the community.

Sandra van Egmond headed the committee of volunteers that oversaw the weekend’s events and pulled many of the activities together.

“We were very pleased with the events and very proud of all the many individuals and organisations who ran activities for visitors and locals.

“I would like to thank the Committee for their energy and hours of work that went into making this weekend a success.

“It was really special to see old friends and colleagues get together over a meal or a drink and renew connections between people and the place they call home. The stories that were told over the weekend gave us a strong sense of what Kawerau was like in the early years and the vibrancy and fun that characterised the people who lived here,” Ms van Egmond said.


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