Community Newsletter

Have you met the new owners of the Kuaotunu Store yet? Kieron and Nicci Kerr (& dog Nero) took over the store recently and are already making exciting plans for its future.

Their immediate focus is on extending the range and quality of the products that they offer, including having more fresh produce for sale (locally made where possible), so that locals can enjoy the convenience of being able to get the goods they need right here without having to travel over the hill. Reducing prices where possible is also a key focus.

Longer-term plans include turning the small adjacent shop into an old-fashioned, NZ style ice cream parlour, which will not only be an asset for Kuaotunu but also give them more space within the store itself for other goods. Other plans include replacing the shade sail between the two buildings with something more weatherproof, and bringing back the popular takeaway service. They are also looking at renovating the upstairs area so that they can move to Kuaotunu permanently.

Originally from Christchurch and then Kaikoura, Kieron and Nicci moved to Wharekaho a few years ago to support their daughter while she was completing her dive instructor's diploma. The intended one year turned into three, and after many enjoyable Sunday afternoons in Kuaotunu at Luke's Kitchen enjoying oysters and a few beers, they were immediately attracted to the opportunity offered by the sale of the store. While neither has a background in retail, they were keen for a new project and also to be part of a community where they felt they could make a difference. 

With the support of Fran and Holly, who according to Nicci have made their taking over of the business so much easier, Nicci and Kieron are looking forward to settling into Kuaotunu and doing their bit to make Kuaotunu the wonderful place to live that it is.

Celebrating Two Years of the Kuaotunu Library

The Kuaotunu Library Committee is proud to report that after two years of operation, more than 160 families have signed up and make good use of their new library. It is perceived by everyone as a rejuvenating, comfortable and good-spirited place. Both children and adults alike enjoy the ambience and comfort of this library, built on trust and respect for fellow book lovers of all ages.

The committee is grateful for the continuing support of all who donate books to the library, to Lesley at the Mercury Bay Library, and to those community members who are always willing to help when needed. We have a lot of new books and are about to purchase more.

For a $10 yearly fee, members receive a code to open the door. This enables you to access the library at your leisure to choose books, just write up the details of what and when you borrow and off you go with your books of interest selected from the wide range on offer. We are confident that almost everyone will find a book to enjoy. 

If you would like to become a member, please contact us to sign up and enjoy the library facility provided for both you and your family as part of the greater Kuaotunu community.

Your team of volunteers:
Marguerite Muellers   07 866 2626        soulartnz@yahoo.co.nz
Denise Young:           07 866 0450         evansanddenise@gmail.com 
Maxine McRobbie:     07 866 4341        mcrobbies@xtra.co.nz

Art Space for Kuaotunu on the Drawing Board

The new community-led  group behind the concept of a Heritage Culture and Art Space envisaged at the Kuaotunu Domain (working title "Art Space Project 2022") are in step with specific project guidelines created by the professional management consultant in the group. All have been involved in art-related exhibitions in the area and know what can be done better, and what more a dedicated Art Space will bring to the community.

How to box an exhibition... Hokianga style

Their Mission Statement is concise: A local community art space, giving creatives an exhibition venue to evoke curiosity, conversation, and exchange. 

Their vision of the project is equally concise: An Art Space in all its creative endeavours that will embrace Tirirti partnerships, Matarauga Maori, Kaupapa Pasifika and cultural diversity in its planning and execution. 

Engagement with Ngati Tamatera iwi began the process and they nominated a local representative. The project concept was then shared with the local office of the Department of Conservation, TCDC, the Mercury Bay Community Board, and the Kuaotunu Residents & Ratepayers Association (KRRA), all stakeholders in fundamental community projects.

The group has since received notice of their successful application for funding via the Creative Communities Scheme to present an informative Hui for the local creative arts community to spark and gauge their support and affirmation for the projects as future users and caregivers of the space.

The Hui program will be a day's "conservations with...", a selection of invited speakers (and all the trimmings - coffee and gingerbread welcome), a coordinator to keep items on track, a place for question and answers, and to encourage discussion.

Leona Kentworthy and Jan Barratt, founding members of the Toi Box (a Hokianga initiative), will be the out-of-town guest speakers, who will present their story of a community Art Space in Opononi in the Hokianga, from dream to a functioning reality.

The full program of the day is yet to be drawn up and the probable date will be late September.

The Matarangi Beach Paper has offered a monthly column to the group to share stories of people involved in this project and its progress; the third piece will be in the May edition. Keep watch. 

New Faces on the KRRA Committee

The Kuaotunu Residents & Ratepayers Association (KRRA) was delighted to meet with many members of the community at the Kuaotunu Hall on Easter Sunday, when we held our AGM. You can read the minutes of this meeting here.

As mentioned in the meeting minutes, three members of last year's committee did not stand for re-election this year. However three new people put their hands up to join the committee in their place: Steve McKenzie, Kevin Crawford, and Roimata Taimana, meaning that the committee continues to have a full complement of 10 members. Local democracy is thriving in Kuaotunu!

The committee would also like to heartily thank all of those members who took the time to cast their votes for the AGM online and thus ensure that we met our quorum. We really appreciate your participation, and hope that next year more of you will be able to join us in person.

As always please feel free to contact us at any time with any thoughts, ideas and concerns you may have about what is going on in Kuaotunu.

Upcoming Events

Saturday 4th June to Sunday 26th June 

Two of our local artists, Ian Preece and Roimata Taimana, are delighted to be exhibiting again after a long gap due to the COVID pandemic:

Saturday 18th June

The Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) project is about to enter the next phase of public engagement.  The SMP is a critical piece of work that aims to better understand our coastline and the environmental and climate changes that are affecting it. Our very clear goal is to ensure that we have thriving and resilient communities.

The SMP is a three-year project and we’re now nearing the end of the consultative process. We have four Coastal Panels, one of which includes two members from Kuaotunu, and these panels have been working incredibly hard to define and reduce the coastal flooding and erosion risks to our people, property and assets.

We are at a point where we are once again asking for public engagement, and so warmly invite people from Whangapoa, Matarangi, Kuaotunu wider areas to attend our public consultation day from 2.30pm to 4:40pm on the 18th of June at the Kuaotunu Hall.

Saturday 25th June (Matariki Weekend)

Kuaotunu Dune Care will be having a working bee on the reserve at Grays Beach adjacent to the estuary, at 9am. We look forward to locals joining bach owners in planting out the area which is being prepared by TCDC.

Friday 15th July to Friday 12th August 

Nominations are open from 15 July to 12 August for the Local Body elections which are scheduled for October this year. We will be asked to vote for 4 x Community Board members and 3 x Councillors to represent Mercury Bay (currently only 2). PLEASE take an interest, nominate someone you think will best represent the aspirations of our communities, scrutinize all candidates and most importantly, VOTE.

Note that if you own a property here but don't live here, you can vote in the local elections here as well as your normal place of residence, but you have to enrol separately as a ratepayer elector. Find out more and enrol at www.tcdc.govt.nz/election.

This newsletter is brought to you by the Kuaotunu Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc (KRRA).

Please note that the views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of KRRA.

KRRA thanks the following people for their contributions to this edition: Isabel Gilbert-Palmer; Marguerite Muellers (Kuaotunu Library Committee); Thames-Coromandel District Council; Jenny Crawford (Kuaotunu Dune Care Coordinator); and Ian Preece. 

We’d love your feedback on this issue - please email your thoughts and suggestions to info@kuaotunu.nz.  

Like to contribute an article to this newsletter? We welcome contributions about events, happenings, projects etc that are relevant to the Kuaotunu community. Please note that the Newsletter Editor has the final say regarding content and may edit content if required.

To find out more about the Kuaotunu Residents and Ratepayers Association, such as the date of the next meeting, how to join, agendas and minutes of previous meetings, etc, please click here. You are welcome to attend any committee meetings, these are usually held  every 6 weeks on a Thursday.