When Shirley Howden talks about Central Otago, she talks with passion and excitement.
As Central Otago District Council’s regional identity manager, she is equally as enthusiastic about the launch of Teviot Valley – Our Place, Our Stories, a booklet published under the Central Otago District Council’s “World of Difference” banner in Roxburgh last Wednesday.
The booklet is the first of several planned to promote the individual districts and to highlight why each area is special.
“For the people in the Teviot Valley, there is a special quality, something we should be proud of,” Ms Howden said.
“It is such an unique community and we wanted to capture that.
“We wanted to get a sense of place.”
Teviot Valley’s highlights include fruit and other produce from strawberries to saffron and flowers, the Clutha River, the valley’s cinema, cycle trials, the Roxburgh dam, farming, gold mining and even Jimmy’s Pies.
She said she was working on other editions for Cromwell, Maniototo, Ida Valley/Manuherikia and the wider Earnscleugh/Alexandra area.
To find out what features made each district unique – the regional identity – she held several workshops in the region about two years ago to ask the locals for their input.
Ms Howden said she wanted to know what the residents considered special and what reflected the spirit of the districts, as part of the council’s ongoing development of the regional identity.
She talked to the Teviot Valley Governance Group, which assisted with networking and contacts for a cross section of people from the community, who were invited to have input.
In addition to the books she has also developed a broader and more extensive overview for each district on the website www.aworldofdifference.co.nz on the “Our Place” page.
Author Vivien Lightfoot wrote the text for the booklets and Ms Howden took most of the photos.
“It has been a privilege [to be involved in the project],” she said.
Books will be for sale for $5 each at i-SITE and other outlets in the area.
She decided on a low price per copy to make it accessible to everyone in the community, only covering the cost of printing.
“It is about having pride in our place and if we care about our place, we care about its future,” she said.