Vans boost for region

By Christine McKay -
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Lianne Simpkin, the Tararua District Council's economic development and communications manager and district mayor Roly Ellis on top of the Welcome sign at Mangatera, celebrating Dannevirke's official status as a motor home friendly town. Photo / Christine McKay
Lianne Simpkin, the Tararua District Council's economic development and communications manager and district mayor Roly Ellis on top of the Welcome sign at Mangatera, celebrating Dannevirke's official status as a motor home friendly town. Photo / Christine McKay

Tararua District Council has rolled out the red carpet to thousands of motor home visitors hoping they'll spend up large while they're here.

Dannevirke is now officially a motor home friendly town, and the hope is the status will bring publicity, vans and money rolling into the district.

"I'm excited we've finally got here," Lianne Simpkin, the Tararua District Council's economic development and communications manager, said.

"It's been a long, drawn out process and I hope we'll now see more motor home enthusiasts visiting Dannevirke and the Tararua. A lot of our retailers are struggling and any boost to visitor numbers will make a big difference for them."

Kerry Stewart, from Whitby, a board member of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, said statistics show members spend $78 a day in towns they visit.

"That's welcome revenue for your community," she said. "And if they know they're welcome then they'll stay longer. I love it when a plan comes together and I'll keep encouraging people to come and visit my second home."

With 51,000 members, 74 per cent of who have certified self-contained motor homes, there's a huge potential for the Tararua, local motor home owner, Brian Clatworthy said. "We're not leaving anything behind, except money," he said. "There's a big cross section of people who own motor homes and they all spend money wherever they go. There were 23 vans on safari here last weekend and we saw the owners at the supermarket and filling up with petrol. The benefits flow on because when we had a large rally at the Woodville race course visitors spent time at the Fantasy Cave, Police Museum and the Lions book sale."

Mrs Simpkin said the timing of Dannevirke's certification as a motor home friendly town couldn't have come at a better time for the economic development of the district.

"This is a whole new sector we haven't focused on before and now the ball is rolling we'll look at working towards having Woodville become an official motor home town as well," she said. "The more motor homes I see parked up here, the more excited I will be."

Motor Caravan Association board member Dawn Fellows, of Tauranga, said the Tararua District Council had been fantastic to work with.

"It's taken a while to work through the issues, but now the 51,000 members, who have 26,000 vehicles, will be welcomed here," she said. "Of course, while not all 26,000 vehicles are going to come at once, our aim is to get a few thousand to Dannevirke in a year. If they're made to feel welcome, they'll stay parked up longer and spend more."

Roly Ellis, Tararua District mayor, said he was rapt with the outcome.

"If everything only took a year to come to fruition, it would be bloody fantastic," he said. "Lianne (Simpkin) has done a vast amount of work behind the scenes to get this rolling for us and we're really keen to have caravanners in our towns and out on our back roads."

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