The settlement of Waitārere Beach is the first community in Horowhenua to have its community plan adopted.

Waiopehu Ward Councillor Christine Mitchell said the community helped drive the collaborative engagement process used to create the plan.

"It's the first community plan off the ranks, and I'm pleased with the lengthy and thorough engagement process that was used to create it."

The plan's vision is that Waitārere Beach is a safe, friendly settlement that has a relaxed beach character and lifestyle with a diverse population who know each other.

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Off into the surf at Waitarere Beach.
Off into the surf at Waitarere Beach.

The following values were adopted as part of the plan:
· Kaitiakitanga: We are actively showing guardianship, care and protection for the Waitārere Beach environment
· Whakawhanaungatanga: We are connected and able to build connections and relationships with each other to build a sense of belonging to Waitārere Beach and the community
· Manaakitanga: We care for, support and value each other in order foster a sense of community at Waitārere Beach.

The plan's priorities are: recognise the character and the sense of community that makes Waitārere Beach special, the beach, dunes and waterways, outdoor recreation, and an infrastructure that meets community needs.

Strategic Planner Katrina Gray said the collaborative engagement process included discussions with the community, iwi, and students at Poroutawhao School. The Waitārere Beach Progressive and Ratepayers Association took an active role.

A community planting day will complete a project led by Horowhenua District Council to extend stormwater outlet pipes and re-shape dunes at Waitarere Beach.
A community planting day will complete a project led by Horowhenua District Council to extend stormwater outlet pipes and re-shape dunes at Waitarere Beach.

"We started this process with a blank slate and developed the community plan based on feedback from the community about what they like about the area, what's important to protect, what they love doing in the area, areas for improvement and their long-term vision."

Earlier this year, Council took a draft plan back to the community for consideration – the plan was altered following feedback from the community and presented to the full Horowhenua District Council meeting on Wednesday 8 April.

Ms Gray said work has already started on planning for and implementing some of the projects highlighted in the plan. A copy of the plan can be found here.

Pipi lay baking on Waitarere Beach.
Pipi lay baking on Waitarere Beach.

Community plans are currently being created in Ōhau, Manakau, Levin and Foxton Beach.