09 Oct 2019
By Smart Waikato Chief Executive Mary Jensen
Look out, go up
Let’s not be insular, but understand where Hamilton fits in a regional, national and global context. Hamilton is the “capital city” of the Mighty Waikato, NZ.
Many of its businesses and inhabitants wouldn’t be here today without the farmers who cleared the land and built the early infrastructure in the region, and came into Hamilton to do their “big shop”. Earlier the tangata whenua established their marae alongside the many rivers that flowed through the region.
Hamilton should embrace and reflect all that the region has to offer, including the Kiingitanga Movement – this should be a vibrant part of our everyday lives and celebrated visually everywhere. Tourism opportunities like Hobbiton in Waikato should be well served by Hamilton as a base providing outstanding accommodation and hospitality. Collaborate with the rest of the region.
Go up with housing – re-vitalise the inner city by encouraging young people to live in stylish affordable apartments and grow the coffee culture. Encourage outstanding architecture.
Yes, keep the infrastructure up to scratch (yawn!) and work with whoever we need to, to make sure our city is safe.
Have more healthy recreational spaces for our lost young people to enjoy. Look after our young people and our old people. They are vulnerable.
Make sure that we don’t become too ugly as a logistics hub – counteract that by keeping the visual and performing arts alive to keep our souls alive, and sport to keep us energised and healthy.
Protect and grow our research and tertiary education institutes. Invest back into the city; wherever possible, Council should procure locally.
Understand that Hamilton is a great place for young families to live and very close to some of the most beautiful beaches, mountains, lakes and rivers in the world.
Of course, make the most of the Mighty Waikato river. Look after her, plant more trees. Build on our strengths, and address our weaknesses. Look out and see Hamilton in the context of the rest of the Waikato region, NZ, the world. Because that’s how the talented people of today and tomorrow, that we’d like to attract and retain, will measure us.