27 Nov 2015

A Warm Wairoa Welcome

From Country Life, 9:18 pm on 27 November 2015
Alex Powdrell and Angie Whitworth are trying to drum up business for Wairoa.

Alex Powdrell and Angie Whitworth are trying to drum up business for Wairoa. Photo: RNZ / Carol Stiles

Angie Whitworth thinks she is living in absolute paradise.

And she'd like other people to come on over.

She lives in Wairoa, in Northern Hawkes Bay - a town with a population of just over 4,000 and where you can buy a house for less than $100,000.

Angie owns a busy cafe on Wairoa's main street and is part of Upstream Wairoa, a group formed to promote business in the town.

The says with the projects Upstream Wairoa has in place, "It really feels like Wairoa is on an up."

The Gaiety movie theatre  has re-opened and now plays block-buster movies. A taxi service has started in Wairoa and recently a florist shop opened its doors.  

Markets are held regularly to entice people from surrounding areas to come to town; lights now illuminate the town's bridge and banners flutter across it.  

There are lots of empty shops in the main street but an 'art in empty places' project is underway to make them worth a visit anyway.

In summer, Wairoa will host another Hummer of a Summer, a string of events co-ordinated to showcase the area as a summer destination.

Upstream Wairoa is also promoting tourism, the region's beaches, hot pools and Lake Waikaremoana.

Alex Powdrell is also part of the group and says it needs to get the word out that Wairoa is the gateway to the Lake Waikaremoana walk.

"In the North Island people fly south to do one of the Great Walks down there without realising they have actually have one on their door step."

Alex says Wairoa is a wonderful spot to bring up a family.

"There's nowhere else in my mind that would give me the lifestyle that we currently lead for affordability..so we're living the life of kings in a beautiful little town raising beautiful families."