Board chairwoman will be ‘a breath of fresh air’

On board. . . Gathering after the swearing in of the new Mataura Community Board are (from left) Gore District councillor Neville Phillips, board members Steve Dixon, Colleen Te Au, chairwoman Nicky Coats, and board members Laurel Turnbull and Darren Matahiki. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Nicky Coats is the new Mataura Community Board chairwoman, breaking the drought of women being elected for the role.
The board’s statutory meeting was held last week and Gore Mayor Ben Bell officiated at the ceremony to swear members in.
Board member Steve Dixon said Mrs Coats would be a ‘‘breath of fresh air’’ as the board had previously been chaired by men.
Colleen Te Au was elected as deputy chairwoman.
The mayor arrived at Te Hono o Te Ika a Maui ki Ngai Tahu marae about 10 minutes late for the 5.30pm meeting after getting lost following the instructions of an online map.
After a welcome by marae representative Cody Waihape, Mr Bell thanked the hosts inviting him to the marae.
The marae was a ‘‘fantastic choice’’ of venue for the town’s first community board meeting, Mr Bell said.

‘‘It’s actually a privilege to be here at the marae.’’ He congratulated the board members for standing.

‘‘I’m actually really excited to work with you for the next triennium.’’

Gore District Mataura ward councillor Neville Phillips said he was looking forward to working with the new board.

‘‘A dynamic group, very headstrong, and that’s what we want.

‘‘We want good representation in Mataura to pull off a few things round the council table.’’

It was important to have a good cross section of residents on the board who were knowledgeable about the town, Cr Phillips said.

‘‘It makes my job extremely easy.’’

It was the community board’s recommendations he presented to council. ‘‘I’m hoping this group can put forward some really good ideas and get things back on track.’’
He encouraged board members to attend council meetings when items concerning Mataura were on the agenda.

‘‘It makes a big difference.’’
Gore District councillor Keith Hovell said he planned to attend the board meetings where possible.
‘‘As a district-wide councillor, I recognise the Mataura Community Board is the window to what happens in this area.’’
Mrs Coats said she was excited about the next three years.
‘‘We have a lot on our agenda that we’re hopefully going to get sorted.
‘‘As a collective, we’re going to make an awesome team.’’
She and Ms Te Au would attend council meetings and ‘‘eyeball all the councillors, like Neville suggested’’.
‘‘I’m pretty determined to get things done for our wee town.’’