28th July Update: Stronger Together – What a Wonderful Town!

What a wonderful town!

As I stood in Baxter Street on Saturday night watching families, teenagers, and the oldies (like me) pour into Warkworth to watch the GULL Laser Light Show, play in the snow, go on the rides, and sample the amazing food from the Food Trucks, I realized that as well as living in paradise, I really do love this town.
Over the July school holidays, we had two wonderful events in the town, both with large numbers of people attending. The ITM Parade of Lights on the first weekend had crowds of around 6500 to 7000 on the wharf and in the main street for the parade. Again, on the last weekend of the school holidays, the GULL Laser Light Show pulled in huge crowds in and around Baxter Street despite the rain.

Something that is especially pleasing about these events is how busy all our hospitality businesses became on both nights. I spoke to visitors from as far afield as Manukau, Helensville, Whangaporoa, and of course, Wellsford, Snell’s Beach, and Matakana. They were in town to enjoy the festival, and I know that a lot of them stayed to visit our local businesses while they were here. Perhaps they’ll be back again soon now that they have seen and experienced what the town has to offer.
You may have noticed the young people helping at both events. These were students from Mahurangi College who put their hands up to volunteer! Many started working with us as early as 6am for the event set up and worked through to 11pm for the pack down. I was so impressed with their work ethic, their interaction with the public, and the way they conducted themselves. We can all be very proud of our Mahurangi College students!

The special thing about these Mahurangi Winter Festival of Lights events is that they are organized by a small group of volunteers who start planning and working on the events in February.  Together with a grant received from the Local Board, all the sponsorship money needed to run the two events comes from generous, local businesses who are passionate about our community. The committee of the Mahurangi Winter Festival is amazing and I am so proud to be working with a group like this who all contributed to the successful outcome of the Festival. The Mahurangi Winter Festival of Lights is a community-led and driven event,  supported and delivered by locals who love this town.
Warkworth and the surrounding region steps up time after time. The Emergency Services Dinner earlier this year was another great example of a successful, community-led event and I know that we punch well above our weight in putting events like these on.

We have other celebrated, local events that are struggling at the moment because they can’t find people to volunteer a few hours of their time – the Kowhai Festival is a prime example. I would encourage anyone who lives in the area to look around and see where you can help. It doesn’t take up a lot of your time, but it does make you a part of this wonderful community and believe me, the rewards far outweigh any time you put into it.

One Mahurangi has always said, we are Stronger Together. The Mahurangi Winter Festival of Lights 2022 was another example of those words in action. I look forward to you joining us again at the next community-driven event or project in Warkworth. Support local, Love local!

Murray Chapman
Manager, One Mahurangi Business Association

Support Local, Buy Local, Employ Local, Love Local!

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