Ten years of the Mataura community development co-ordinator role was celebrated in the town last week.
The celebration was part of the annual meeting of the Community Networking Trust (CNT) which was held in the Mataura Community Centre.
Two co-ordinators have been appointed in that time who started the role in 2010, and Eleanor Ranstead, who started in 2016 and recently resigned.
The role proposed by the former Mataura Taskforce, funded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and managed by the trust has recently been discontinued.
Ms Brand said the aim of the role when she started was to work with the community “to develop a positive, healthy, safe environment where people can achieve their best”.
“If we look over the last 10 years the amount of national awards that have gone to organisations and individuals, I think we’ve nailed it,” Ms Brand said.
Key to the success was the focus of the taskforce on “creating vision rather than fixing problems.”
The community garden was one of the many successful projects.
“There still is nothing better than driving past that garden and seeing all generations working side by side and the community bumping spot and the love and connection going on between people that may not normally see each other on a day-to-day basis.”
One lesson she believed the community had learned was there was “no magic idea to achieve goals”.
“No-one person is always right and sometimes things don’t work.”
The fact the role was being discontinued showed how successful it had been.
“While it may be sad for some that the role is now rolling out, it means that we achieved.”
Mrs Ranstead said people in the town had a good understanding of what it meant to work as a community.
“They know how to come together and they know how to get on with what needs to happen to address its own issues, which is really fabulous to see,” Mrs Ranstead said.
Mataura had responded in a “stellar way” to the challenges of 2020.
“When the really big things [have] come along the people have really pulled together and done a magnificent job,” Mrs Ranstead said.
“What I was blown away with was, our response in Eastern Southland and particularly in Mataura, was miles ahead of lots of other communities .. we actually had to offer our learnings and our ways of doing things to some of these communities because they were just not coping at all.”
CNT manager Robyn Morris said the town had made great progress in the past 10 years with the different initiatives that had been started.
“It’s been a whole true community effort,” Mrs Morris said.
With the recent resignation of Mrs Ranstead the trust had evaluated the role of community development co-ordinator and decided to discontinue the role.
“The talk has been around we need something that would have more of a social focus,” Mrs Morris said.
As a result, a community connector position would be created.
“The proposal is to base that person in Mataura two days a week at this stage.