Every day the Whanganui Chronicle helps give our community a voice.

Often we report on the problems, setbacks and mishaps that befall people ... and every once in a while those stories produce a wonderful response, and our work gets a positive result.

In fact, those are our favourite stories and here are seven ways the Chronicle made a difference in 2018.

New Year joy

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On the very first day of the year we reported how Christmas joy turned to tears for 11-year-old Jansen Pears when his new BMX bike was stolen from the driveway of his family's Aramoho home.

Shortly after, the family were overwhelmed with offers of help from around New Zealand and overseas and Jansen soon accepted a mountain bike from a Paeroa woman whose son no longer used it.

Jansen Pears on his Christmas BMX bike that was found by police after it had been stolen.
Jansen Pears on his Christmas BMX bike that was found by police after it had been stolen.

Whanganui police then contacted them to say Jansen's BMX had been found. It was returned and the bike Jansen had been donated was given to Pay It Forward Whanganui.

Holding councillors accountable

When a Whanganui District Council vote on whether to accept late submissions to the annual plan was split 6-5 earlier this year, there was no way for the public to find out which councillors voted which way on the issue as their individual votes were not automatically recorded in council minutes.

After our news story, readers' letters, an editorial and a letter from the editor to councillors urging change, councillors' votes are now recorded as a matter of course.

A win for democracy.

Whanganui District Council now records the vote of all councillors...
Whanganui District Council now records the vote of all councillors...

Job done!

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The Chronicle has made many trips to Sandra Watson's Fitzherbert St home over the years; usually after a vehicle has careened into her front fence.

After countless news stories on the crashes, the intersection and Watson's petition to the Whanganui District Council - and little editorial pressure - the layout of the intersection was changed earlier this year.

Watson's fence has remained unscathed since... fingers crossed.

For the 5th time in 12 months a vehicle smashed through Sandra Watson's Fitzherbert Ave fence before changes were made.
For the 5th time in 12 months a vehicle smashed through Sandra Watson's Fitzherbert Ave fence before changes were made.

The Christmas grinches didn't win in the end

Just before December, eight mountain bikes were stolen from Gonville School after Christmas grinches smashed the locks and broke into the school's bike sheds.

But when the owners of Geoff Davies Builders and Velo Ronny's Bicycle Store read about the theft in the Chronicle they decided to make a festive donation of replacement bikes.

Merry Christmas!

Kayde Clow and Ella Riddell were two of Gonville School pupils upset that eight of the school's bikes were stolen during a school camp. Photo / Stuart Munro
Kayde Clow and Ella Riddell were two of Gonville School pupils upset that eight of the school's bikes were stolen during a school camp. Photo / Stuart Munro

Home and dry

Whanganui mother-of-six Melissa Walsh was facing living in her car with her kids after being given two months to find a new home.

After 10 years as a model tennant she had to leave because the landlord wanted to renovate the property and she was having no luck finding a new home for her large family and pets.

Property Brokers' agent Andrew Rennie read the story - and knowing her rental record, helped her find a new home.

Melissa Walsh is one of many Whanganui residents the Chronicle reported on who have struggled to find a rental this year.
Melissa Walsh is one of many Whanganui residents the Chronicle reported on who have struggled to find a rental this year.

Eviction day becomes elation day

In another housing story, Cayla Tait-Hanara, her husband Conway and the six children in their care were going to have to leave the Aramoho villa they rent from Property Brokers Whanganui in October.

That was despite being described as excellent tenants by the property agent. After a story in the Chronicle and the family speaking to the landlord, the Australian investor let them stay.

The Tait-Hanara whanau were delighted to be able to stay on in their rented property while it is renovated. Photo / Bevan Conley
The Tait-Hanara whanau were delighted to be able to stay on in their rented property while it is renovated. Photo / Bevan Conley

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got swing ...

The much-loved Mosquito Point swing by the Whanganui River eventually fell apart and was missed by kids, young and old, as council safety gurus decided it should not be replaced.

The Chronicle took up the cause, backed by letters and a salvo from our columnist Fred Frederikse.

Lo and behold, councillors voted to reinstate the swing and summer fun was back.

Here's to some more success stories in 2019.