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Vibrant Safe Waitomo Action Plan helps create a safer community for all

28 Oct 2021, 10:30 AM

A strategy to create safer and more vibrant communities in the Waitomo District has been supported with the endorsement of an action plan for the 2021-2022 year.

Vibrant Safe Waitomo (VSW) was formally launched in 2019 with the aim of bringing community groups together to support activities and projects that will contribute to making the Waitomo District safer and ultimately better for all that live within its bounds.

For the past three years, community stakeholder groups, support agencies and government organisations from throughout the Waikato region and Waitomo district have been working alongside Waitomo District Council implementing the strategy.

WDC Manager Community Development Clowdy Ngatai says Vibrant Safe Waitomo is not widely known throughout the district, but plans are in place to let the community know more about Vibrant Safe Waitomo.  The goal is to provide our community with an opportunity to feed into the plans and to take part in celebrating its success stories and the great work being done behind the scenes by many organisations and individuals

“Vibrant Safe Waitomo is about all sectors of the community working in a joined-up way, to promote safety and increase opportunities for our communities to create their own wellness,” she says.

“This includes forming partnerships, managing risk, educating and informing to increase community wellbeing and overall safety, especially for the most vulnerable.”

Waitomo Mayor John Robertson, who is also the Chair of the Vibrant Safe Waitomo Regional Coalition, says local solutions to local issues are always best. 

“These need to be supported by regional and national agencies, but not driven by them.  The purpose of Vibrant Safe Waitomo is to work alongside our local community and its organisations, and then to encourage regional and central government organisations to support them,” he says.

“Housing, including safe and transitional housing, is a priority in our district.  We need to help unlock land for development. So too is assisting youth to develop skills for employment, thus Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. 

“Education is key to wellbeing, so supporting our schools as we are doing with the King Country Indoor Sports and Recreation Centre is important.

“These are all small steps along the journey to improve the wellbeing of those in our District.”

VSW was developed and is governed through the VSW Regional Coalition which comprises representation from many organisations.

Council’s role is to manage the co-ordination of these partners.

“Basically, we are looking for the best way to synergise the core business of the organisations at the table, while ensuring it is reflective of our community priorities,” says Clowdy.

“The VSW Action Plan is a platform to take a step back and see what needs work, then take ownership of doing something extra and delivering against that while not losing sight of the many strengths we already have in the community.”

The VSW strategy has four key Themes: Whanau/Families; Mahi/Workplaces; Hakinakina/ Recreation; and Kotahitanga/ Connected Leadership, and under each a number of actions have been developed to create the action plan.

The 2021/2022 Action Plan has been agreed with 37 actions of delivery, including increasing opportunity for housing development, the delivery of Business after 5pm events and supporting the groups that have continued to promote safety, such as Violence Free Maniapoto and innovative programmes like Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, which helps young people to be work ready in order to secure sustainable employment.

The plan also focuses on the actions being aligned to one of three indicators in the key which denotes that the actions are either a Carried Over action, a New Action or a COVID- Response action.

“Small communities like ours are nothing if not together in our movement forward. It’s not perfect and we have plenty to work on, but we have made a start and we are certainly together.,” says Clowdy.

A logo and branding has also been developed which will help strengthen the presence of VSW in the community and connect the work being undertaken under the VSW umbrella.

The bird depicts the Kawau bird which is significant to the people of Ngati Maniapoto, and the colours reflect the themed colours of the plan.

Kia mau tonu ki tēnā; kia mau ki te kawau mārō.

Whanake ake! Whanake ake!’

‘Stick to that, the straight-flying cormorant!’

These were the instructions of the dying ancestor Maniapoto to his people. Such strength of purpose characterises much of their history, including their early economic success, protecting the King Country, and preserving their culture.


Click here to view the Vibrant Safe Waitomo 2021/2022 Action Plan (PDF 1.51 MB)