A group of more than twenty community members gathered at the Karamea Bowling Club on Oct 16 for an informational meeting on the emerging ideas on how the application process for the Community-Led Development Programme might optimally operate. Liz Kerslake graciously agreed to act as facilitator for the meeting, which followed on immediately after the Annual General Meeting of Karamea Community Incorporated (KCI).

In opening, Clive Hellyar (KCI) observed that some common desires were expressed by participants in the August Community Hui. These included a need for processes to incorporate mechanisms for feedback, for being robust, transparent, clear, engaging, and supportive.

Projects that emerged from the August Hui have been collated, and are visible in the window of the former Global Gypsy premises. These projects can be clustered into a number of different areas, such as Social and Educational Activities, Food, Recreational Activities, Developing Opportunities for Employment/Income/Tourism Activities, Development/Improvement of Infrastructure, Improvement of Services, Environmental Enhancement, and Evaluation.

In light of so many merit-worthy projects, we talked extensively about whether a Community Action Plan would be a useful way of prioritising project ideas ahead of submission to the Department of Internal Affairs. A Community Action plan might be something very simple and broad, or it might be a more in-depth document. An alternative approach might be to simply harness the existing energies and strengths, and develop projects where there is a demonstrated body of support sufficient to plan and execute a concept. The larger plan would then emerge as a composite of the various community groups’ actions, and can reasonably be said to reflect the will of the community. The two strategies can be summarized as a top-down approach, or a bottom-up approach; likely, elements of both approaches will be required.

Community members present mentioned that they were aware of several promising projects that have been sparked in response to the Hui. To provide but one example, David Guppy spoke of the growing awareness of the Oparara River as a major asset, with a key aspect being that it be treated in a more holistic way than has typically been considered: from source to sea. A project has been initiated focusing in the first instance on estuary erosion control to preserve a pocket of coastal forest, along with a wetland planting project, and clean streams initiative. Karamea Area School, farmers, and Department of Conservation staff are all on board. A clear potential exists to expand this project to other river systems in the area.

As projects begin to pick up momentum, improved communication in the community is a must. Sylvia Raikes talked about the new display in the former Global Gypsy premises as a handy way for people to be able to see at a glance materials relating to the Community-Led Development Programme. There will also be a new section of the Karamea.nz website devoted to the Programme.

When the Programme is fully operational, we anticipate that project-leaders will come to one of the monthly Karamea Community Incorporated meetings, and present their project ideas to the group ahead of the electronic submission through the Department of Internal Affairs website. Our goal is to be in a position to receive submissions as early as our November meeting (Nov 7).

ACTION ITEM: Post signed agreement on Karamea.nz, and develop strategy for handling information relating to the Community-Led Development Programme (Brian, Radek)

ACTION ITEM: Karamea Community Incorporated needs to put clear message to wider community about application process. Put requirements on Karamea.nz and former Global Gypsy display area so people know what is suitable. (Brian, Sylvia, KCI)

ACTION ITEM: Karamea Community Incorporated needs to be GST registered, have robust financial controls (financial plan can grow as we get grants in place), have conflict of interest and Health & Safety policies. (Rosalie, KCI)

ACTION ITEM: Clive to send letter to Dyan asking for clarity on criteria and application process, with particular emphasis on the proposed Community Action Plan. Bring to Karamea by end of October; be ready for KCI to hear submissions at monthly meetings from November onwards (Clive)

Next meeting 7pm Tues Nov 7 Karamea Community Centre (RSA Hall)

Meeting closed at 8.55pm

~submitted by Brian Corner

Secretary, Karamea Community Inc

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