It's encouraging, despite ongoing Covid uncertainty, to see gathering business and community momentum on our lower alert level.
While there are still a good many bumps along our recovery road, please endeavour to support local businesses and groups as they navigate the obstacles, pressures and impacts caused by the restrictions.
For our local sporting communities, though, it's been an exciting few months.
As national coach for the New Zealand boxing team, I was fortunate to experience the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as a participant, albeit at a Games like no other, with no crowds and limited interactions.
Manawatū was well represented at the Games and our local competitors really made us proud. Congratulations to all our Kiwi athletes with a special commendation for our medal winners.
Being part of boxer David Nyika's journey to a bronze medal is something I'll never forget.
In other Manawatū sporting news, the council has overwhelmingly voted to support a group of businesses and individuals backing Jets basketball, granting $10,000 a year for five years and venue hire in kind for three years. This will give players and staff a more certain and sustainable future.
This coming season, Manawatū cricket has an exciting opportunity to see first-class games at Fitzherbert Park. The Plunket Shield will be returning to the ground for the first time since March 2008 when the Central Stags host Northern Districts in round six of the historic eight-round national championship.
It's a free admission event from March 12-15.
The council is also working with businesses and tourism groups to get televised T20 double-header games to our region in late December for the first time. This would be a massive achievement and opportunity for our region.
Now let me add some context as to why I did not participate in the Covid-19 vaccine survey published in the Manawatu Guardian two weeks ago.
Firstly, I believe the Covid vaccine will play a vital part in our journey towards a resilient economy, a thriving health system and the reopening of our borders to the rest of the world.
Although I was the first member of the council to be fully vaccinated, I declined to answer the survey as it is my strong belief everyone should have freedom of choice to do what's best for themselves and their families.
I worry vaccination mandates could lead to discrimination towards certain groups, and this will be devastating for our efforts to combat Covid.
Now more than ever, we should be rallying together rather than creating division.
• Billy Meehan is a Palmerston North city councillor.