Singapore Airlines Article on Karamea/Nelson/Collingwood

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Posted in Collingwood, Environment, Heaphy Track, Kahurangi National Park, Karamea, LivinginPeace Project, Nature, Nelson, New Zealand, Oparara, Oparara Basin, Oparara Valley Track, Photography, Rongo, Rongo Backpackers & Gallery, South Island, Sustainability, Travel, West Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GOAL for Karamea Community!!

Knock, Knock…Who’s there?

Opportunity…

…Opportunity Who?

Opportunity to make our region FABULOUS!

 

Off the Top of My Head

By Paul Murray

When opportunity knocks, you open the door right? Well, the Karamea community has a golden opportunity ringing its doorbell and it’s time to open all entrances and welcome it in for a cuppa, some scones and a chat.

ggcircle800pxKaramea has been granted a partnership with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) for five years through its Community-Led Development Programme (CLDP), which will offer financial, logistical and professional support for community projects. There are five communities across New Zealand to have this chance to improve their lot and Karamea is the only community on the South Island to have been selected.
Karamea Community Incorporated (KCI) applied to DIA for the CLDP alliance and the application was successful, largely due to the savvy and acumen of KCI coordinator Clive Hellyar who drew up the application with support from committee members.

What does all this mean? I hear you ask…Well, in the first year, there is $1 million available for distribution to the five communities that have been selected for the programme. Yes…that is $1,000,000 large! (…and that’s just in the first year of a five-year programme).

In order to access this money, the Karamea Community (and the Little Wanganui Community) need to come up with serious plans on how we might improve our lot, draw up proposals, apply for funding, get the money and then get busy at a practical level to turn our dreams into reality and we have the support of the Central Government through the DIA’s CLDP to back it up financially and make it real.

This is an opportunity that needs to be embraced and nurtured so that we can improve local employment opportunities, strengthen our regional economy, make our region more attractive for local people and visitors, enhance aesthetics, increase local recreational activities, upgrade existing infrastructure and generally give the place a good spruce up.

The association with the DIA will dramatically improve the chance of success for funding applications and the DIA will support grants with “partnership funding” by adding to successful funding applications to get projects across the line financially.

IC KCI is a group of local people passionate about improving our community for the people living here. We need your help, Buller REAP in conjunction with KCI have arranged for a community forum called “Love (Y)Our Place.” Megan Courtney, a facilitator from “Inspiring Communities” is coming to Karamea on August 12, 2017, to enable all the members of our community to have a voice and share their thoughts on how we might take full advantage of the opportunity the CLDP offers. We need your help by coming to the forum and contributing to the future of our region by sharing your thoughts and ideas.

The forum is a chance to have your voice heard and to shape the future of our region. Your opinions and thoughts are important and this is an opportunity for you to be heard and for your ideas to be put into action. This one Saturday afternoon will be time well spent, as you will have a chance to shape the future of our region with your input to the forum.

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So come along on Saturday, August 12, 2017, to the Last Resort Café from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and express yourself with other members of the Karamea and Little Wanganui communities and let’s work together to make this great place even better for all concerned.

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Posted in Art, Bureaucracy, Business, DIY, Economics, Environmentally Responsible Business, Karamea, Money, New Zealand, Paul Murray, Politics, Social Commentary, Social Enterprise, Social Equity, South Island, Sustainability, Uncategorized, West Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Burning Woman Throws Baby

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Off the Top of My Head

By Paul Murray

When a large macrocarpa tree blew down in front of his house in a storm, Granity artist and bon vivant Peter Whitaker saw it as a sign, “It was like a message from God,” he said with a wry grin.

God’s message was apparently to take the windfall and use it to disturb people. Good installation artworks often do, their message is strong and direct, they evoke emotion and stimulate contemplation. Pete Whitaker’s “Burning Woman Throws Baby” is such a bit of work.

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The hideous and disconcerting sculpture is on display at Rongo in Karamea for six weeks and we invite you to come and take a look, have a think and try and determine just what the message Mr Whitaker is attempting to convey might be. It’s also a great selfie opportunity…because everyone looks good in front of this monstrosity.

On seeing the sculpture for the first time, Rongo Manager Tristan Lockerbie said, “My God…That is a total waste of a good piece of firewood.” “It’s badly carved, poorly executed and completely disgusting…I LOVE it!”

Karamea Village Hotel Chef and local Barista Vinnie Dunford, couldn’t resist the opportunity to be photographed with the grim installation…”This is cheesier than double brie, mozzarella pizza with a cheddar infused crust….Mmmmmm CHEESE….,” He mused.

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Chef and Barista Vinnie Dunford gets up close and personal with the flaming lady.

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Granity Artist Peter Whitaker with his creation “Burning Woman Throws Baby.”

“It was motivated by despair really,” Whitaker said. “Despair with the state of the world, politics, the threat of global warming…It’s a message to say “Hey, things are really wrong here”…We need to think about saving the next generation.”

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Whitaker carved the work for the annual Buller Art Exhibition in the clocktower in Westport on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. The work didn’t elicit much feedback, but did result in one offer to purchase. “Someone wanted to buy it,” said Whitaker. “But I didn’t sell it as I was uncertain of the person’s intentions for the piece,” he added.

Diva Murray, daughter of Rongo owners Paul and Sanae Murray, was confused by the sculpture…”Why is the lady gorilla throwing a pig Daddy?” she asked.

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Diva Murray with Mrs Kong and Piglet

The anatomically incorrect shaping of the “hot” lady suggests it’s been quite a while since Whitaker has actually seen a woman without clothing and when pressed on the subject he said, “That may be true, but I have a lot of good memories.” Well memories are one thing, but mammaries are quite another and the Burning Lady’s misshapen chest suggests the unfamiliarity of the sculptor with the real thing…or things.

After the exhibition closed, mother and baby went on display in Westport at the Art Hotel in Brougham Street and they are now doing their time at Rongo in Karamea. Whitaker plans to take the burning woman and her unfortunate child down the West Coast and display them at other venues to spread the message and share the scare.

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“Burning Woman Throws Baby” is on display at Rongo until Labour Day, so come and stay in Sunny Karamea and enjoy the stark contrast between the beauty and peace of Karamea life and the dystopian horror depicted in Whitaker’s artistic effort.

Take a selfie with the unfortunate lady as she desperately attempts to save her toasting toddler by tossing him out of the furnace of the present and into the frying pan of the future…and help spread the message that while things might not be so good now, there is hope for the age to come.

Posted in Art, Artist, Artist-in-residency programme, Bureaucracy, Children, Culture, Economics, Environment, Environmentally Responsible Business, Hilarious, Humor, Humour, Interviews, Karamea, LivinginPeace Project, New Zealand, Parenting, Paul Murray, Peter Whittaker, Photography, Resident artist, Rongo, Rongo Backpackers & Gallery, Sculpture, Social Commentary, Social Equity, South Island, Weird, West Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Interesting Images

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Karamea Food-Branding Initiative Gathers Momentum

Off the Top of My Head

By Paul Murray

Buller Community Development Facilitator Peter Howard recently presented information at the Karamea Bowling Club about a proposal to establish a “social enterprise” in Karamea to bolster the local economy, create employment and improve returns to our agricultural sector.

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Buller Community Development Facilitator Peter Howard presents the concept of a food-branding social enterprise for the Karamea Community at the Karamea Bowling Club on January 17, 2017.

The proposal to value-add local produce under a “Karamea” brand and sell the processed products to gourmet food markets in more affluent urban markets is supported by the Akina Foundation, EPIC Westport, the Grey District Council and Buller REAP. It came out of the recently conducted Tai Poutini West Coast Regional Growth Study by Wellington-based consulting firm Martin Jenkins and has caught the ear of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Karamea’s unique “ geographical island in a National Park” location provides the community with a distinctive point of difference that has been utilised in other locations to successfully establish locally branded products that capitalise on the uniqueness of their region to enhance the market potential of their products.

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Karamea: A Geographical Island in the Kahurangi National Park

I grew up on Kangaroo Island in Australia. Farmers on the island had a problem. All the inputs to the farm–Fencing material, fertiliser, livestock, fuel, machinery etc,–had to be imported at significant cost. All produce from the farm had to be exported to mainland markets for sale, again this incurred an additional cost. As a result, Kangaroo Island farmers’ gross margins were significantly lower than mainland farmers producing a similar product.

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In the late 1970s, a group of progressive-thinking farmers, including my father, got together to work out a means of addressing the problem. They considered the island had a unique comparative marketing advantage as a food-producing region and decided to produce a range of “Kangaroo Island” branded premium quality products that could be processed and value-added on the island for sale into high-end gourmet food markets on the mainland. Not everyone thought it was a good idea initially, but a few got on board and started off with simple products like vacuum-packed premium quality beef and lamb cuts, cheese, yoghurt, honey etc.

The initiative significantly reduced export costs as they were now exporting just the prime meat cuts rather than a whole animal and value-added products rather than raw produce. The quality focus enabled the establishment of the Kangaroo Island brand in the mind of the market as a premium quality product for which a premium price was paid.

Today, there are over 100 “Kangaroo Island” branded products and the project was a great success. Kangaroo Island farmers now enjoy a similar, if not better, return from their farm businesses than mainland farmers and the initiative has resulted in the creation of numerous new jobs in associated fields like food-processing, production, manufacturing, marketing, transport, packaging, designing etc., improved local infrastructure, increased the skill-sets of local people and generated profits that have been returned to the community to improve services, facilities and social equity.

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Kangaroo Island Branded Premium Quality Food Products

Kangaroo Island Branded Premium Quality Food Products

The dynamic of Karamea district is very much like that of Kangaroo Island, and we have the same potential to overcome our challenges in a similar way and, in the process, increase local employment and create sustainable incomes for the people who live here.

As Karamea is also a popular tourist destination and will become more so as the Oparara Basin is developed into an “iconic West Coast attraction” like Punakaiki pancake rocks and the glaciers, there is a great opportunity to sell Karamea branded products to visitors to the region. Kangaroo Island producers found this to be a great opportunity as the island is also a tourist destination and visitors purchase a lot of Kangaroo Island products to take home with them, which proved to be a boon for the producers as there was no transport cost associated with such sales. In addition, tourism embraced the opportunity and visitors now take tours of the processing facilities, farms, purchase products directly from the manufacturers and associated merchandise bearing the Kangaroo Island brand.

The Karamea airport also provides the region with a great advantage as our value-added horticultural and agricultural; products could be back-loaded on planes bringing people to the region for holidays. Many planes are currently returning empty and there is an opportunity for us to access urban markets like Wellington and to increase efficiency and mitigate flight costs for airlines. Locally based flight services could also fly product to urban centres and return with passengers.

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Karamea International Airport

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Karamea is seen as an excellent pilot location to test the development of this kind of social enterprise with the view to applying the concept to other regions and indeed the whole West Coast, which is also a unique and recognisably distinctive region of New Zealand.

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The opportunity for the Karamea community is to establish a social enterprise with financial assistance and professional support to proudly promote our special region, add value to our raw produce by processing it here and selling it to people less fortunate, but with more money!

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Posted in Agriculture, Australia, Buller District Council, Business, Economics, Education, Efficiency, Environment, Environmentally Responsible Business, Gardening, Health, Kahurangi National Park, Karamea, Money, Nature, Oparara, Oparara Basin, Oparara Valley Track, Paul Murray, Permaculture, Photography, Social Commentary, Social Enterprise, Social Equity, South Island, Sustainability, Travel, Uncategorized, West Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Karamea Co.Starters Set World Record

Off the Top of My Head

 By Paul Murray

 The remote rural town of Karamea at the top of the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand apparently set a world record Monday night by being the smallest community to ever host and successfully complete a Co.Starters business development course.

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Buller Rural Education Activities Programme Community Development Facilitator  Peter Howard delivers the Co.Starters Course material at the Karamea Bowling Club

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Co.Starters Course Facilitator Peter Howard and Participant Sanae Murray

Co.Starters began in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2008 in a region that was facing similar economic challenges the Buller District is currently experiencing from the closure of several large businesses, a downturn in established industry and the associated loss of employment.

In Chattanooga, the Co.Starters programme was instrumental in turning the situation around and renewing the local economy by supporting small business start-ups, fostering entrepreneurial ideas and helping people prepare their ideas for market success by networking with others to develop mutually beneficial synergies. The region is now considered one of the most economically stable in the United States, has a vibrant artistic community, a successful small business sector and it has also attracted some large corporations.

The nine-week programme attracted 12 participants with a diverse range of entrepreneurial ideas including; a yoga studio, café, gold-panning and mini golf activity, hairdressing salon, several horticultural enterprises and a publishing company. Ten of the participants graduated on Monday at Presentation Night where they pitched their business ideas in a five-minute address to members of the community, West Coast business leaders, government officials and potential financiers.

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Sanae Murray Pitches “Yoga Rongo”

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Steve Miller Pitches “Paradise BlueBerries”

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Chris Partridge Pitches “Baker’s Creek Orchard”

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Lena Fischbach Pitches “Nature Ahead” Hairdressing

Awards were given on the night for the best presentation, for the participant who made the most progress throughout the course and the Customer Count Prize for the participant who spoke with the most potential customers about their business idea.

Brendan O’Dwyer with his pitch for One-Man Band Publishing a venture that seeks to collect, edit and publish local anecdotes, poems and photographs took home the best presentation prize along with a jar cash donated by people attending the evening and an accounting package from F.T. Dooley Ltd valued at $1,500.

The Customer Count Prize of a six-month accounting package from First Class Accounting and a six-month West Coast Awards membership went to Vinnie Dunford and his business “Karamea Kitchen Café,” and Andy Austin of “Best Gold Panning and Mini Golf Experience” also took home a business mentoring and accounting package valued at $1,000 from Peter Campbell and Associates in Westport.

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Peter Howard (left) presents the Customer Count Award to Vinnie Dunford of Karamea Kitchen Cafe as accounting firm F.T. Dooley Director Rochelle Crossman looks on.

The Co.Starters programme is instrumental in bringing communities together. The course would not have been possible without the financial and logistical support of the many sponsors, the generosity of local people who offered their time to share their business knowledge and experience as guest speakers and mentors, the hard work and dedication of Buller Community Development Facilitator Peter Howard to bring it all together and the vision of the Buller District Council to support the programme and subsidise the cost by allocating money provided by Development West Coast through the Buller Economic Stimulus Fund to mitigate the cost to participants.

Corporate sponsors Buller Real Estate and EPIC Westport and support from Buller REAP was instrumental in enabling the Co.Starters course to be held in Karamea and allowed Karamea entrepreneurs to attend the programme.

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The graduates now have a template to successfully establish a self-sustaining business that will enable them to live and work in their communities, employ others and benefit the Buller District by developing their respective ventures, diversifying the local economy and making it stronger and more resilient, providing services to the local residents and visitors to the region…Everybody wins!

Vinnie Dunford, Head Chef at the Karamea Village Hotel is planning to open Karamea Kitchen Cafe in Market Cross, Karamea, showcased his culinary talents by catering for the Co.Starters Presentation Night event and produced a stunning array of food prepared from locally grown produce.

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Karamea Karaka Smallgoods donated by Tony Ibbotson

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Tristan Lockerbie and Winston Murray Enjoy the Festivities

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For more information about the Co.Starters Programme click on the following link:

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Posted in Business, Co.Starters, Economics, Education, Historical, Karamea, Money, New Zealand, Paul Murray, Rongo Backpackers & Gallery, Social Commentary, South Island, Sustainability, West Coast | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

360º Views of Rongo Backpackers & Gallery

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Karamea Radio 107.5 FM @ Rongo Backpackers:

https://theta360.com/s/d3MRscPKFmooLDc3fJn175dwm

Rongo Backpackers Gallery:

https://theta360.com/s/bE73Ev2MHTvBGsqrqQsUvjyyW

The Yoga Rongo Studio:

https://theta360.com/s/rQbdmGfd3SYDAQahwxdhhl5SC

The 70s Room (4-Bed Dorm)

https://theta360.com/s/gaN3wYkugUHEllp0cZGSvl0zY

The Twin Room:

https://theta360.com/s/ibpU3O6JOij20DMlSCaNhwhlo

The Oparara Grand Arch:

https://theta360.com/s/hgorMiDC5qEt7c1y9YQ9jbRS4

The Oparara Grand Arch II:

https://theta360.com/s/p6vukZjnS0wz3huSeGdUiDZUO

 

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