While there is plenty of light-hearted fun to be had at Whangamomona Republic Day, the Republic itself is the subject of more serious discussion, says Stratford District mayor, Neil Volzke.

He says the release in November last year of an issues and options paper Realising the Republic, is part of the Stratford 2035 Making it Real campaign,where the council puts all of its future planning cards on the table at the same time.

Despite the Republic title, the township itself does come under the Stratford District Council and the council has an important role to play in ensuring services and infrastructure meet the needs of the community now and in the future, says Neil.

Whangamomona is an integral part of our community, and its unique character is clearly something visitors enjoy.

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The township's reputation as a tourist hot spot has grown over the years, says Neil, and it is important to have a clear vision for the future of Whangamomona, along with the rest of the district.

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"Whangamomona is an integral part of our community, and its unique character is clearly something visitors enjoy. The increase of visitors to our region benefits everybody, and that's why we want to encourage the development of Whangamomona as a tourist destination."

Neil says while Whangamomona has always had something unique to offer, the range of activities on offer in the area has grown substantially over recent years, and is still increasing.

"The time has come where we must look seriously at how we can co-ordinate and market all the opportunities in the area. This will benefit everyone in the district and the increase in activities in the area will also grow employment opportunities."

I think it's safe to say the locals won't let the town lose its unique appeal.

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Neil says the growth of tourist interest in the area must not come at the cost of Whangamomona's unique identity.

"I think it's safe to say the locals won't let the town lose its unique appeal."

"A part of developing the area is to ensure there is better road access to the township so people can get there in a safe and timely manner," says Neil. "This is why we continue to lobby for the improvement of State Highway 43 to ensure it can cope with the increase in traffic numbers."

Neil says he would encourage any residents with an interest in the future of the district, specifically Whangamomona, to fill in the submission form available from the council or to give feedback on the Stratford 2035 Facebook page.

Copies of the discussion paper are available from Stratford District Council, Miranda Street. Visit the website