Meri Kirihimete from Mayor Denyer

Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor James Denyer. Photo: Supplied.

Mayor James Denyer and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council team are wishing everyone "Meri Kirihimete".

"Kia ora, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy Christmas and an enjoyable summer festive seaso," says Mayor Denyer.

"Summer is a special time for us in the Bay of Plenty. It's when we enjoy the sun, the sea, the sand and the great outdoors.

It’s also that special time when we spend quality time with our whānau and friends, and enjoy our time together. It's when we reflect on the year that was, and look forward to the year ahead."

The mayor says 2023 was a challenging year for many of us. 

"Last summer was a bit of a write-off with the storms and cyclone that came through. I’m really hoping for better weather this year.

"We also faced the rising cost of living and inflation putting pressure on our budgets and lifestyles."

James says things haven’t been easy.

"Despite all this we have shown incredible resilience, kindness and community spirit in the face of these challenges. We have supported each other, helped each other and lifted each other up.

"I’m very proud of what we have achieved together as a District, and to call the Western Bay home.

"But it's also been a rewarding year, with many opportunities to connect with you, the people who make this District such a wonderful place to live, work and play.

"I've enjoyed meeting people from all parts of our District. From our young leaders and innovators, to our elders and kaumatua, to our farmers and business owners, to our volunteers and community groups. You've all shown me your passion, your resilience and your vision for the future of our District.

"Together, we've worked on some exciting projects and initiatives to make this wonderful place we call home flourish"

He says the council has invested in infrastructure and services to support the growing population and economy.

"We've celebrated our culture and heritage with events and festivals that showcase our diversity and talent," says Mayor Denyer.

"We've protected our environment and natural resources with initiatives that promote sustainability and conservation.

"And we've strengthened our social fabric with programmes that foster inclusion, wellbeing and safety."

He says "there's still a lot more mahi to do".

"But I'm confident that we have the potential and the commitment to achieve great things in the coming year. I'm looking forward to working with you all to make our District an even better place for ourselves, our tamariki and our future generations.'

James says at certain points this will require some tough decisions to progress key issues and priorities identified by the district.

"I’m not afraid to make these difficult decisions – to choose the right decision over the popular decision," says James.

"Priorities such as strengthening our climate change action plan, doing more to help address the nationwide housing shortage, and providing well-maintained, resilient and efficient infrastructure – infrastructure that responds to community needs, is fit for purpose and future-proofed.

"From the Your Place Tō wāhi kōrero will be where much of this will be closely analysed, and debated, so we create a 10-year plan for the District that is robust, flexible and gives you confidence in the direction we’re heading."

He says this will involve several conversations with the district's communities.

"Your voice matters to me, and I hope you'll continue to share your ideas and concerns with us in 2024.

"But now it is time to rest and reinvigorate with family and friends. Let's have fun, be safe, and look after each other. Let's celebrate our achievements, our diversity, and our community spirit.

"I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a safe and enjoyable holiday season. Take care of yourselves and each other, and I'll see you in the new year."


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