New yachtie has hand on Mainstreet tiller

By Michele Hunter

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Karena Mattson is looking forward to starting as Mainstreet Tauranga's new co-ordinator. Photo / John Borren
Karena Mattson is looking forward to starting as Mainstreet Tauranga's new co-ordinator. Photo / John Borren

The Tauranga woman appointed to the newly created role of Mainstreet Tauranga co-ordinator believes her people skills and experience in events management made her the best choice for the job.

Karena Mattson, who recently returned to Tauranga after working in London and Auckland, will take up the 25-hours-per-week role on December 9.

Her appointment follows the sudden departure in August of Mainstreet manager Kirby Weis, who led the team for seven years. Mr Weis was informed of the remodelling of Mainstreet when he returned from holiday that month.

After discussions with the board he told the Bay of Plenty Times it was an opportune time for him to move on and look at other options and the board to move in a new direction.

Miss Mattson, a "born and bred Otumoetai girl" said applying for the role was a "no-brainer", having chosen to return to the city she loved for its lifestyle.

"I've lived all around the world and I chose this place," she said.

Her experience includes managing bars in London and organising an Auckland tradeshow encouraging UK residents to move to New Zealand. Since returning to Tauranga she has worked as a tour co-ordinator for Zespri and more recently organised international trade show exhibits for Katikati-based dental technology firm Triodent.

Her main role with Mainstreet will be liaising with members, stake-holders - including Priority One, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce and Tauranga City Council - and the Mainstreet board.

Miss Mattson said her greatest strength was her people skills and the co-ordinator's role called for someone approachable to members who could engage with them and earn their respect.

It was too early to say how she would go about bringing life back to the downtown or draw shoppers in. She would spend the time before Christmas meeting members and assisting with Christmas events.

"There's some real passion out there to work together to make it a vibrant, exciting city again," she said.

In August, Mainstreet announced a new partnership with marketing firm Tuskany Agency, which also took over Mainstreet's management duties.

Tuskany Mainstreet spokesperson Sally Cooke said Miss Mattson would focus on building relationships, work closely with members and co-ordinate events and initiatives downtown.

"Karena is exceptionally well suited for the role. She has an extensive background in project and event management, which gives her a great practical approach. What's more, she is a local and passionately parochial. We were immediately struck by her energy, focus and desire to work with us to create momentum, passion and pride in this city centre. I think she will very quickly become a great asset to the city centre."

In her spare time, Miss Mattson enjoys keeping fit, DIY, and recently took up sailing.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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