Town blackboard will let you have your say

By Nathan Crombie -
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Carterton will be home to the first "community conversation board" in the region.

Judi Rendall, Wairarapa REAP adult and community education co-ordinator, said a conversation board was an idea taken from New Orleans artist Candy Chang.

Chang first created the concept of posting a large writing surface in a public space - including the walls of vacant homes or shops - and posing a question like "Before I die I want to ..."

The idea of using a conversation board to stimulate community ideas, responses and solutions had been since repeated across the globe and Mrs Rendall said it was time for the concept to take hold in Wairarapa.

"A conversation board is actually just a space where questions can be posed and people are stimulated to share their opinions," Mrs Rendall said.

She said Carterton District Council, Wairarapa REAP and Neighbourhood Support Carterton would partner for the project. It will be launched at the Carterton Events Centre on Thursday.

Mrs Rendall said a wheeled plinth at the centre had been converted into a double-sided blackboard complete with chalk, which will comprise the writing surface and tool.

A prominent community member would pose the inaugural question. The board would be housed in the centre foyer before being moved to different locations in the town, Mrs Rendall said.

The board also could be placed near vacant shops, with questions posed about what should occupy the premises, she said. Organisers hoped the opportunity to speak out would generate useful and relevant comment and opinion.

"We think it will grow as it's used and hopefully will become a place for the community to share issues and ideas."

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