Conference on future called
Hastings mayor Jeremy Dwyer is proposing a Futures Conference early this year to help Hastings recover from the drought, last year’s hail storm, the Tomoana closure and job losses
Mr Dwyer explained his plan at the unveiling of two brass plaques yesterday at the Hastings clocktower remembering 193 Hastings people who died in the February 3, 1931, Hawke’s Bay earthquake.
“Just as we picked ourselves up by the bootstraps in the 1930s following the earthquake and Depression, so we can forge ahead positively into the late 1990s,” Mr Dwyer said.
The past decade of business closures and bad weather for the rural sector were the equivalent of a major earthquake.
The Futures Conference will start with a pre-planning task group. The focus will be on positive outcomes and not be a grumble session, he said.
“Conference topics will include economic development, district promotion, tourism, civic pride, heritage, local government priorities, community development, local facilities, partnerships and networking, social concerns, community festivals, culture and the arts and architecture. ”
Opinions will be sought on a range of issues before the conference is held,
“The purpose of the conference is to chart a set of desirable guidelines which focus on strengths, to channel new ideas into existing groups and structures, and to get people involved in making their community a better place to live,” he said.
The Hastings District Council is producing a 20-year strategic plan that will give financial management guidelines to be used as a base for aspirations and goals, he said.
“This document, along with regional perspectives such as that provided by the Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 20/20, will help set the scene for a productive Futures Conference.
“‘With the right targets, priorities and planning over a realistic time period, we can achieve a quality of life and employment for our families and citizens to be proud of,” Mr Dwyer said.
About 200 people attended yesterday’s memorial service which marked the 64th anniversary of the earthquake.
The plaques naming the victims were unveiled by two men who researched the details, Colin Britten and Noel Evans.
Mr Dwyer said it was a poignant moment for the two.
Mr Britten’s father approached former Hastings mayor Gordon Roach with the suggestion for the commemorative plaques a few months after the earthquake but his suggestion was shelved. Mr Evans’s father was one of the victims of the quake.
Last year Mr Britten and others discussed the plaque proposal with Mr Dwyer and the Hastings District Council agreed to fund the two brass plaques.
A group of Hastings Boys’ High School pupils attended the ceremony to mark the death of a former pupil, Rex Fredsberg who died when Roach’s store collapsed during the quake while he was buying a school cap.
The Reverend Robin Mawson hoped the plaques would be a visible memorial of not only those who died but the people with the courage to rebuild Hastings.
“It’s hard to believe that Hastings as it was ceased to exist at this time 64 years ago when it was shattered by the earthquake. It showed the worst of nature but the best in people,” the Rev. Mawson said.
Representatives from civil defence, the Red Cross, RSA, New Zealand Army, Nurses Association, police, fire service, courthouse, schools, and council were present. Several people who lived through the earthquake attended.
Photo captions –
Mr Dwyer announces details of the council’s Futures Conference.
Mr Evans, Hastings Boys’ High pupil James Twigg and Mr Britten.