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All things Ōtaki with Shelly Warwick

29 Apr 2024, 12:33 PM

On the 27 January I had the pleasure of opening the Te Horo Kilns project exhibition at Toi Mahara gallery in Waikanae.  This is an exhibition in ceramic art and other mediums by local Kāpiti Artist Elisabeth Vullings, mapping the Kilns project in art. The Mirek Smíšek kilns were identified by Waka Kotahi as historic when they proposed the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway (PP20).  They had to preserve the kilns, but lucky for us was the fact that a group of hearty volunteers set about getting organized into the Mirek Smíšek Kilns trust. They realized that this piece of history needed to be preserved and the project could be enhanced into an arts, heritage and cultural center.  Seven years of hard work, untold hours, and a lot of passion to turn the kilns into the visitor destination it is today sitting on the Expressway Cycleway Walkway Bridleway (CWB) path and attracting tourist along the path to come and visit us in the North.

Ōtaki and Te Horo business network huiAlso on Tuesday 19 March we had our first big Ōtaki and Te Horo business network hui at the Railway Hotel. It was fantastic to see the turnout of business people from retail, rural, tradies and industrial.  A lot of work went into this from Council staff and the Community Board to ensure as many businesses as possible were aware and informed.  If you are a business from Ōtaki or Te Horo and want to be engaged and kept in the loop you can email [email protected] to be added to the contact list.  This is an opportunity for business to collaborate and be a collective voice as we move forward with the revocation post PP2O and make the most of opportunities that might fall out from this work, as well as enhancing business opportunity and growth for our community.

We have also had the Ōtaki Kite Festival and Māoriland film festival in February and March. As with many fantastic events in Ōtaki these events are run by volunteer armies who give generously of their time and energy to provide pleasure and wonderful experience’s to those who attend. 

I must mention our local volunteer fire brigade who have had an exceptionally busy March with 3 major fires and a couple of smaller ones in the space of only a couple of weeks.  As volunteers our fire men and women have to leave their families, jobs, recreation and sometimes their beds in the middle of the night as soon as the siren goes. They are often away for hours at a time, as was the case in March.  The whole community felt very appreciative of the brigade and it really highlighted the amount of time and effort that our Ōtaki Fire brigade volunteers put in to our safety, something that so often goes unrecognized.

collecting for Poppy Day with Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Penny Gaylor.I also did a stint collecting for Poppy Day with Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Penny Gaylor.  Our community in Ōtaki is very generous and many were giving notes not coins, which is extremely kind in these very tough times that people are finding themselves in, with the increase in cost of living.  We had an amazing turnout for the Dawn Parade and the Sunset Retreat. A highlight for me a group of local rangatahi singing the Māori Battalion marching song at the Dawn Parade which was very special. 

As chair of the Kapiti Equestrian Advocacy group (KEAG) I was also very pleased, alongside Ruth Halliday KEAG secretary, to present Graham Winterburn with an award in recognition of all the work he does to ensure the horse riding community in Kāpiti have equal access and opportunity on the Otaki river walkways.  It is very much appreciated by horse riders, thank you Graham.

Community board and our local Iwi Nga Hapu o Ōtaki

It has been a pleasure over the last 18 months to work with a fantastic Community board and our local Iwi Nga Hapu o Ōtaki.  We have lots on our plate as we deal with a lot of change and growth in Otaki and Te Horo but it is a great team who is working hard on behalf of their community.

Shelly Warwick

Ōtaki Ward councilor