Mayoral Column


At the time of writing this column, students have returned to school, the big dry has hit the Waikato and the Coronavirus has already had very real implications on travel, trade, and tourism. As we all get settled in for the year ahead, I'd like to take the opportunity express my excitement for Ōtorohanga in 2020. 


Monday through Friday our young people gather at Ōtorohanga College to receive an education that will lay the foundation for the best possible opportunities in their life. Schools are at the heart of our towns and districts and that is especially the case for small towns such as our own. For a long time now, Ōtorohanga College has faced harsh criticism from the community at large. It is fair to have high standards for our college because we want our young people to be learning in an environment in which they can thrive. However, it is an entire community’s job to rally behind the local College, the students, and the teachers who work in an often thankless profession. Currently, we have a skilled and passionate Board of Trustees governing our school and a very talented and driven Principal (Tumuaki) in Traci Liddall. 


I am optimistic that we are all passionate about helping Ōtorohanga College be the best small-town high school in New Zealand. Lifting up our local college should be a shared community goal this year. If our energy in 2020 is channelled into supporting a school, their events, sports games and fundraisers rather than entertaining hearsay, our young people will be in a better place this time next year. 


In 2019 we saw some incredible displays of generosity from the people of Ōtorohanga. The vision and dreams of Dr Bob le Quesne and Mr John Oliver came to fruition with the opening of Ōtorohanga Medical – Te Whare Hauora o Ōtorohanga.


Thanks to John and Sarah Oliver’s generosity, we can also look forward to another addition to the Beattie Home, a dementia unit that will start development in 2020. This is a dream of the Oliver’s and the Beattie Home Trust coming true. Mr Oliver has now published a book, 'There's Only One Way to go in Your Eighties. The Life Story of John Oliver.’ I finished this book over the weekend and it is an incredible read. It is a great insight into the life of a very inspirational and focused businessman, farmer, philanthropist and family man. For those of you who wish to find out more about the man behind the generosity shown to our community, his book is for sale with all proceeds of the book going to the Beattie Dementia Home.


Nga mihi nui,