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Watch NZH Local Focus: Wairoa's time to be revitalised

By Kaysha Brownlie

For years - the crowning glory of Wairoa's iconic lighthouse was covered under layers of paint.

But now - the copper cladding shines as a beacon of the Mayor's drive to revitalise the town of nearly 8000.

"We've got to do some of the basics this time now," Wairoa District Mayor Craig Little says.

"We've got to get our main street up and running so people who come through town want to cruise on down the street and think 'that looks lovely we want to go down there'."

Aucklander, Tamara Rudd, realised the town's potential four years ago - and promptly relocated her family here.

"I just love this place," Mrs Rudd says.

"We've lived all over Auckland, but this is where we've decided to bring up our kids, I've got this fabulous job here in this beautiful shop."

She manages a florist-come-gift store along the Marine Parade - bringing vibrancy to the run-down street.

And she agrees it's time for a spruce up.

"Just even painting and fixing up the awnings when you walk down the main street you can see it's just been let go quite a bit."

The Mayor says new signs welcoming visitors to the district, roading, footpaths and a new playground are all part of the grand plan to transform Wairoa.

"It's really good to see them actually finally doing something," resident Melissa Stanaway says. She would like to see public toilets put near the lighthouse and the river area made more family-friendly.

But it's an expensive job, and the Mayor would like to see more help from central Government.

Mr Little says the council is trying to "put Wairoa back on the map".

"Everything we seem to do, the Government seems to take bits away from us telling us all the wonderful things we are doing, even with Rocket Lab here, we have a wonderful industry, they're absolutely behind us... but we haven't received one cent from them to help us with roading, infrastructure, tourism, we need the help, we're only a small town but my god we could be a real example to other towns on how to do things right if they just came on board."

Whether they're helped or not - the people of Wairoa remain committed to revitalising their slice of Hawke's Bay paradise.

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- NZ Herald

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