Even though spring officially begins tomorrow and the daffodils are already in bloom, there are still winter celebrations to be enjoyed.
Since 2009, Winter Games NZ has attracted some of the world’s best young athletes to our district.
Alongside the high performance coaching team at Snow Sports NZ, the event has played a key role in developing homegrown talent that has led to sometime Wa ¯naka locals Adam Hall, Corey Peters, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous winning Paralympic Winter Games and Winter Olympic gold medals.
This year’s event runs until September 15 and is definitely worth a watch, either in person or on screen.
I attended the opening ceremony on Pembroke Park last week and was struck by the number of competing nations — more than 30 in all.
It’s a global showcase for our local skifields and, with so many athletes and support staff here, also a big boost for our economy.
I’d like to give the same warm welcome to everyone attending another event which seems to go from strength to strength.
We’re in the middle of celebrating Winter Pride, described on its website as a festival in a small town with a bold heart, celebrating love, community, diversity, visibility, safety and inclusion.
I’m delighted organisers continue to choose our district every year as the pot of gold at the end of their own fabulous rainbow.
The council’s commitment to the Pride Pledge goes back several years.
It is one aspect of how we strive to reflect diversity and promote tolerance across all members of our community regardless of ethnicity, religion or disability as well as sexual or gender identity.
Our commitment extends to our own employees and for anyone engaging with the council in the knowledge they can do so in a safe and inclusive environment.
Our community spirit also runs deep when it comes to helping others.
I recently enjoyed a morning volunteering with local food rescue organisation KiwiHarvest along with our local Rangatahi Ma ¯ori (young leader) representative Aaliyah Fowler.
KiwiHarvest is facing hard times with the reduction in the government’s national food sector funding from $11 million to $1 m.
The team are fundraising to continue their wonderful work. If you can, please show your support.
I’d encourage everyone to look into the huge range of volunteer opportunities in our district. You get to meet other amazing people doing great things.
And that’s certainly something to celebrate at any time of year.