It was such an epic weekend for dance this long weekend. There was strong local representation at the Annual Braemar Competitions here in Gisborne. I saw Creative Stepz and Dancefit Studios to name a few had strong representation. East Coast Dance Crew also took two crews to compete at Project in Tauranga. At it’s essence, dance is about joy. Whether you’re involved in kapa haka, ballet, hip hop, tap dance or any of the mediums in between. Dance is about the joy of telling a sad story, the joy of linking to your ancestors, the joy of nailing a solid routine, the joy of the expressions on everyone’s faces. Dance is important because joy is important. Well done to all those who competed over this long weekend. You bring us joy and make us proud.

Future Tairawhiti is on this week in council. FT is about providing an integrated approach, being future focussed and setting strategic frameworks that guide the committee work. To be honest, I really hate using buzzwords like ‘future focussed’ and ’strategic frameworks’ when I describe council activities so I would describe FT as making sure we line our relevant ducks up so we make sure all the council work connect sensibly.

We have a light agenda of five papers, two for decision and three for noting. We also have a few public delegations from Eastland Port, Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti and Ka Pai Kaiti.

Our three noting papers are to update us on roading, the long term planning process and the current state of the fire service.

In our first decision paper we have an RMA Work Programme plan presented to us that combines all the relevant RMA specific plans, like Catchment Management, Spatial Development, Water Quality Management, Discharges in the Coastal Environment and Tangata Whenua engagement to name a few. We set our RMA ducks up, see what connects, we then see what we may have to include or adjust through our Long Term Plan consultation and then we get into doing the work. Having recently qualified as a Hearings Commissioner I am really interested in the planning, implementation and outcomes of this plan as it will require hearings which I am very keen to be involved in.

Our second decision paper is regarding the combining of several relevant urban revitalisation projects to create a Tairāwhiti Navigations Masterplan.

The purposes are threefold: To create better connections and linkages to our public spaces like our beaches, parks, rivers and the places we live, to purposefully design our new public spaces to be enjoyed in multiple ways all year round, and to enhance our iconic places with design and artwork featuring our unique ocean specific histories and stories.

The plan is to make sure our public places like HB Williams Memorial Library, the War Memorial Theatre and the museum, our current and future cycleways and walkways, Titirangi, public artwork like Hawaiiki Turanga etc all connect in a way that makes sense and is relevant. My favourite part of pulling this altogether is that it increases our chance of receiving funding in order to get these projects done. Any plan that has the increased possibility of attracting non-ratepayer dollars is worth putting the time into in my book.

As the deputy chair for the District Licensing Committee I have recently had the responsibility for sign off of bar manager applications and liquor licenses. As this is a semi judicial process it is a very serious responsibility, one that I am humbled to be able to lead for the next few weeks and will execute diligently.

As always, very grateful to serve our region.