The story so far
Our Voices, Our Vision is a major planning initiative the Far North District Council launched in 2014. It aims to develop a cross-sector and community-led vision and action plan that:
- Works alongside the many planning and development initiatives already in place at community, district, regional and national levels
- Gets Far North communities working together and heading in the same direction
- Identifies key priorities for delivering the vision
About 60 representatives from government and social agencies, including the New Zealand Police, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Corrections, Department of Internal Affairs, Housing New Zealand, business organisations, community groups, community boards, iwi authorities, education organisations and the farming community attended the launch at Waitangi in December. A cross-sector stakeholder reference group was formed to oversee the project which included a survey and community workshops.
About 1,200 people took part in the survey which asked people what they wanted the Far North to look like in 2050. Members of the reference group also spoke to people at 40 workshops held across the District. About 100 people provided feedback on a draft vision, values and kaupapa the reference group developed from the survey, community workshops and other strategies. The group fine-tuned the vision and values in response to this feedback and the Far North District Council adopted He Whenua Rangatira – A District of Sustainable Prosperity and Well-being as a vision for the District in late August.
View the vision and supporting statements
A message from Far North Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes
Kia ora koutou
It is my belief that for the District to truly prosper – to be all that we can be – we must walk together and have a unified approach moving forward. I was thus delighted when Council adopted the District vision ‘He Whenua Rangatira – A District of Sustainable Prosperity and Well-being’ recently. The key to achieving this lies with all of us. That is to say that this vision, which summarises the dreams and aspirations that many of you shared during the Our Voices – Our Vision initiative, cannot be achieved by Council alone. It will require all of us to do our bit. If we are to really set ourselves apart and thrive in this outstanding natural environment without having further detrimental effect we, as a district, will have to make some big decisions and some of them will require courage and trust in a better future. And it is a discussion – well one of many – that I am really looking forward to.
As an example, three of the expectations for year 2050 are:
- He wahi ataahua – valuing the outstanding beauty of our District
- Oranga taiao, Oranga tangata – nurturing the environment so it nourishes us
- Oranga kainga – a thriving, sustainable local economy
These raise some important questions. What do we forever want to ensure never gets developed? (I’m sure that more than a few of us never want to see man-made structures on every beach in the Far North). Are there areas now that are undeveloped that could be potentially utilised? Is there current development that isn’t working? You will be able to be involved in this discussion, with the review of the District Plan later this year.
This leads me on to one of the industries that was clearly identified during the community workshops – tourism. I think it was highlighted at every discussion as one of our key economic drivers for future prosperity. And not just any tourism – there was a clear focus on cultural and ecological activities. So how do we go about encouraging this activity while looking after the very reason our visitors come?
Keeping in mind that we spoke to young and old and just about every age in-between, it is heartening to see that, at the core of many us, is a common goal – to ensure prosperity for our people and look after this very special place we call home.
This is only the beginning. I encourage you to get involved and be part of the discussion, whether you are in school, in business raising your family or have simply chosen to live here because it is a wonderful place. Make your voice heard and be part of a future that we can all be proud of. One of the values expressed is manawatopu – unity of purpose and working together. I look forward to it being so.
No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena ano tatou katoa.
Far North District Council