Good news from around the region, MTFJ success and key updates

Published on 10 May 2024


Photo: Thames Coast, Brent Courtney/Explore Thames

The latest from Mayor Len

Sometimes at Council we hear people saying they want ‘good news’ stories. And with dire international news, a wobbly-looking domestic economy, and rates rises in the cards – not just in our district but across the country – is it any wonder?

First up, I’d like to acknowledge the thought and effort put in by our community to provide feedback on our draft Long Term Plan (LTP). We received nearly 350 submissions from individuals and groups and about 70 people spoke to me and our Councillors at the hearings last week. Submission numbers for this (three-yearly) LTP were lower than previous LTPs but the quality has been good. Thank you to those who provided feedback and to my fellow elected members and to staff. Now, the hard work continues with Council deliberations later in May where we’ll go over the feedback and make our decisions. The draft LTP is then audited before Council adopts the final version in late June – just in time for the beginning of the financial year on 1 July – year one of the new LTP.

We’ve been on a bit of a roll lately, with several projects reaching fruition after much hard work by elected members, staff and community groups.

The Tairua Skatepark was officially opened a few weeks ago after many years of attempts to find the right site. 

The Kōpū marine facility is nearing completion after several years of great progress and we’ll have an opening ceremony next month. We’ll have a fit-for-purpose recreational boat ramp and parking, but more importantly to the economic wellbeing of the entire district, we’ll have commercial facilities to service vessels with the potential to create as many as 100 new jobs over time. 

Porritt Park is nearing the end of its conversion to a destination playground with play equipment that will test and amuse people of all abilities. The upgrade is an example of what can be achieved from collaboration between the business community, local benefactors and iwi driving the project forward with Council support. It will officially open at the end of May.

• In Coromandel Town, our Council finally acquired some Crown land from the Ministry of Education adjacent to the historic Hauraki House, a former school that is now an art gallery. The acquired land will be used for car parking and community use and the community now has assurance that the land will not be sold to another party.

• The assessors from IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand), renewed our Council’s ‘extra low risk’ status as a Building Consent Authority in their two-yearly audit of our Building Consent Team. Without maintaining our Council as a Building Control Authority we wouldn’t be able to consent and certify buildings, which is a pretty core council activity. 

• Hats off to the Kūaotunu Dune Care group, which has been recognised with a national award for their work planting native sand-binding species on dunes to help them rebuild from erosion. The group’s weed and predator management work was also recognised. Like other volunteer coast care groups in the Coromandel they are supported by our Council and Waikato Regional Council, but the hard work and the accolades received are all theirs. 

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• I’d also like to acknowledge the sharp thinking of Richard and Ryszard (pictured, with their 'Hero' certificates) from Ventia – our Council’s roading contractor – who came to the assistance of a couple in need of medical attention on The 309 Road. Details are lower down this page.

And (hard) hats off to Natalie, also from Ventia, who drives a grader. She’s recently been acknowledged as Waka Kotahi NZTA's 'Roadworker of the Week' for her contribution to getting our roads back in shape after the battering they took last year. It’s an ongoing process on both State Highways and our local Council roads, so when you see Natalie and other roadworkers doing their business, travel safely through their worksites, follow signage and any instructions you receive and give them a wave to say thanks for their tremendous mahi.

Natalie featured in this video about road worker safety Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency put out recently.

Click here to watch the video

Successful MTFJ placement sets apprentice up for 'life's work'

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Helen Flynn, Council’s Community Partnerships Co-ordinator, Fairview owner Mike Veal, Mayor Len Salt and apprentice Roman McCaskill.

A scheme to match unemployed young people with local jobs has been given a resounding endorsement by local employer Fairview Windows & Doors, during a meeting with Mayor Len Salt to meet with an apprentice the company took on through the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. Fairview owner Mike Veal told Mayor Len there’s a skills shortage in his company’s area of work, fabricating and installing aluminium joinery, supplying most of the businesses locally. 

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Community Employment Programme is a nationwide partnership between Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development. It has a strong focus on getting young people into sustainable employment in their own local area. Through the MTFJ, Mike Veal employed then 23-year-old Roman McCaskill, on a referral from Ngāti Maru, one of the partner organisations involved in the taskforce, alongside our Council and Valley Education and Training Enterprises Limited. Roman had just moved to the area, seeking better prospects than the seasonal horticulture or farming he’d done in South Waikato. Roman interviewed really well. His work readiness and work ethic impressed Mike Veal from the get-go.

After a 90-day trial, he took on Roman as an apprentice on an 18-month BCITO programme. “He’s doing a great job. He picked up the skills really fast. We want to clone him.” 

Roman didn’t know anything about aluminium, but thought: “I don’t like being broke. I’d give it a shot."

"I haven’t had one bad thing happen. Everyone here’s awesome. It’s good banter, good vibes," he says. "Five years from now I pretty much see myself here. I am most probably going to take this job here into my life's work.”

Mayor Len thanked Fairview and Mike Veal for their participation in the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, saying MTFJ recognises the power of localism, and that one size doesn’t fit all. 

“We’ve seen huge benefits from this work: the ability to help people into jobs and help businesses through the tough times,” Mayor Len said.

Our Council has now placed 28 young people who were not in employment or education into local roles in our community through the programme.

Click here to read the full story

Official opening planned for Kōpū Marine Servicing and Business Precinct


The Kōpū Marine Servicing and Business Precinct will be officially launched by the Deputy Prime Minister the Rt Hon Winston Peters in late June, completing a $15 million project that is expected to generate up to 100 jobs in the long term. 

The 80m-long commercial wharf and floating pontoon will boost the capacity of the aquaculture industry in the area, enabling in-water marine servicing and vessel loading. The facility also includes an unsealed haul-out area, an upgraded commercial slipway, a regional public boat ramp and a trailer parking area.  The project cost was met through an $8.2 million grant from the government’s Crown Infrastructure Partners Fund, bolstered with central, regional, district and community funds. 

“With the Kōpū Marine Precinct nearly open to service industry vessels, and with Te Ariki Tahi Sugarloaf Wharf, our district has two important bits of infrastructure positioned to enable the aquaculture industry to grow,” says our Mayor Len. 

Find out more at

Long Term Plan closer to adoption

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Last week was a big milestone in our Long Term Plan (LTP) journey as Mayor Len, Councillors and staff heard more than 70 individuals and groups speak to their submissions on our LTP proposals over two days of hearings from 1-2 May. We received a final total of 348 items of written submissions; 235 of these were from individuals and 113 were made on behalf of organisations. The submissions covered in total more than 1,000 separate points that we have responded to. 

Feedback was received from all five Community Boards, as well as representatives from a wide range of community groups including business and ratepayer associations, libraries, museums, clubs and trusts. Elected members will deliberate on public feedback from 21-22 May, making their final decisions for the LTP.  

The draft LTP will be audited on 6 June, and adopted in late June, when we’ll share the key decisions at

Thames pool survey update: 1,400+ responses received

mutzii-ii-PYL8RzFM6rw-unsplash (1).jpg Thanks to everybody who shared their views on options for an aquatic facility to replace Thames Centennial Pool. It was great to see people’s enthusiasm towards the survey. More than 1,400 completed survey responses were received – one of the highest responses to a survey we’ve had over the past few years. 

The spread of age groups answering the survey show a good representation from all sectors of the community. Around 18% of respondents were aged14-24, 36% aged 25-50, 24% 51-65 years and 22% over 65.  

Thames Community Board Member Holly MacKenzie addressed a Thames High School assembly to encourage pupils to fill out the survey and talked to Year 7 and 8 pupils at Pārāwai School. Although pupils are not current ratepayers, they may be in future, and decisions about an aquatic facility will affect their rates and possibly influence their decision whether to stay in town.  

The majority of survey responses were from people living in Thames Ward (64%) with 15% from other parts of Thames-Coromandel and 20% from Hauraki District and beyond. 

The feedback is being analysed and will be part of a business case report being presented to Thames Community Board in July for selection of a preferred option. 

Click here to find out more

Emergency alert test: Sunday 26 May

Generic EMA Tile - Save the Date.jpg It's that time again: the nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system is happening on Sunday 26 May between 6-7pm. 

Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages about emergencies sent by authorised emergency agencies to capable mobile phones. The alerts are designed to keep people safe and are broadcast to cell phones from targeted cell towers.  

The alerts are targeted to areas affected by serious hazards and are only sent when there is a serious threat to life, health or property.  

The nationwide test allows us to check the system, and lets you understand how your phone will receive an Emergency Mobile Alert; so, we all have confidence the system will perform as it should in an emergency.  

We know there are often lots of questions about the system and how it works. Our friends at NEMA have a thorough FAQs page to provide the answers.

Click here to find out more

Date set for Porritt Park opening 


The new Porritt Park playground is set to open to the public in the afternoon of Friday 31 May – featuring exciting new playground equipment such as a the climbing tower lighthouse and ‘Wakatere’ boat. In addition, the upgraded playground includes hamster wheels, talking tunnels and accessible see-saw and carousel. 

An official launch of the upgraded facilities will take place in the morning Friday 31 May. The park will be opened in the afternoon, once security fencing has been removed. 

Community fundraising is still underway in order to build an enhanced accessible (Changing Places) toilet and a basketball court. To contribute, please email or download the flyer which has all the information on how to make your donation. Alternatively, drop a donation into a collection jar at our Thames service centre reception. 

Click here to find out more about the playground

Cross-party support for Climate Adaption inquiry

A Notice of Motion to move the Finance and Expenditure Committee to conduct an inquiry on climate adaption has been agreed with cross party support. The changing climate is increasing the frequency of natural disasters which are disruptive and costly to our district and have a huge impact on our communities.  

The purpose of the inquiry is to develop and recommend guiding objectives and principles for the design of a climate adaptation framework for New Zealand.

“The adaptation framework will set out the Government’s approach to sharing the costs of preparing New Zealand for the impacts of climate change," says Climate Change Minister, Simon Watts.

“It will help communities and businesses understand what investment is planned in their area, for example whether the council will build flood protection infrastructure, and what support will be available to help with recovery from events like slips or floods. It will also seek to improve the way we share information, so everyone can make informed decisions about how they manage risks. The framework will guide decisions before a severe weather event happens, and responses afterwards, meaning we won’t have to start from scratch every time."

We are pleased to see that all political parties are supporting this framework as it is likely there will be long-term sustainability and outcomes.

Click here to find out more

Opportunities at our Council

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At our Council we ensure work-life balance is not just a dream but a reality. We offer an array of staff benefits including flexible work arrangements, relocation allowance, sick leave on commencement of employment and more. 

Our current job vacancies are: 

• Programme Manager 
• Senior Development Engineer 

If you're interested in working for us, and there are currently no vacancies that fit your skillset and knowledge, please complete the expression of interest application via the link below. 

Click here to find out more and apply

Dog registration coming up: Make sure your details are correct


From Saturday 1 June you will be able to renew your dog's registration online.

If any of your contact or dog details have changed since last year, please let us know before Monday 13 May so we can get your reminder sent to the right place.

You can fill in a form online here: Change of circumstances. Or you can contact our Customer Services team on 07 868 0200, or email

Click here to update your details

Thames Library currently closed for re-carpeting

A reminder that Thames Library is closed until Tuesday 14 May for recarpeting.

The carpark is also partially out of action.

Click here to find out more about our libraries

Application: Resource consent for Whangamatā festival

Ollie Events Limited has applied for a restricted discretionary resource consent for a two-day outdoor youth festival/event to be held on 30 and 31 December, with alternative dates on either 1 and 2 January or 2 and 3 January, for up to 6,000 people at Aickin Road Sports Reserve in Whangamatā for a term of five years. 

Submissions close at 5pm Friday 17 May 2024.   

Click the link below for more information on the application and how to make a submission:

Find out more

The latest from Waka Kotahi NZTA

unnamed (1).jpgWaka Kotahi NZTA has advised that State Highway 25, south of Tairua, will be closed overnight to all traffic for five nights, between 8pm and 6am from Sunday 19 May.

This is to allow for essential maintenance and repairs to the single lane Hikuai Stream bridge, just south of Tairua. Affected road users will need to detour via SH25, looping through Coromandel township.

While this is essential maintenance work, they appreciate this road closure involves a lengthy detour and will be disruptive. A temporary speed restriction will be in place, allowing traffic to cross safely during the day.

Waka Kotahi NZTA are working with emergency services to ensure they can be accommodated if required.

Click here to read the full update

Pacific Drive, Tairua: Drainage works

Our contractors Ventia NZ will be undertaking drainage works near 18 and 23 Pacific Drive. They are scheduled to commence on Wednesday May 15 and are anticipated to last for three consecutive days (weather dependent). To facilitate these essential repairs, a Traffic Management Plan (TMP) will be implemented, which will involve a full road closure from 8am to 5pm each day.

These works are necessary to improve the efficiency and reliability of the drainage system in the neighbourhood.

Residents living beyond the worksite are kindly requested to park below the site during work hours (see photos below) and will be escorted safely through site by the STMS.  Additionally, road plates will be on site to provide emergency access if necessary.

Work Details

Duration: Wednesday May 15 to Friday May 17 (weather dependant)
Hours: 8am–5pm
Location: Pacific Drive, Tairua (pictured below)





Local contractors recognised for timely safety response 

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Our roading contractors Ventia have given their latest 'Safe for Life | Marutau ma koiora' Award to their Thames Health and Safety Reps, for assisting a member of the public during a medical event on the 309 Road.

Richard Adlam and Ryszard Borowicz were completing work on The 309 Road, when they came across a car parked in an unusual place. The pair stopped to check on the two occupants of the car, one of which was experiencing a medical event, and both were distressed. Richard and Ryszard pair calmed them down and then advised the driver to follow them back to Whitianga to seek treatment at the local medical center. Ryszard and Richard piloted them straight to the front door and made sure they were attended to.

Those involved later called to pass on their thanks and appreciation for the help that they received, which was described as quick, calm and reassuring. 

A huge thank you to our roading contractors who go above and beyond in their work keeping us safe on our local roads. 

Sign Language Week: Communicating in an emergency


It’s important people throughout Aotearoa New Zealand can communicate and support each other in an emergency.
For NZ Sign Language week, Civil Defence have developed a resource to help us learn basic signs for tsunami, flood, good and lots more. Learning these will help ensure you can communicate with your Deaf neighbours, friends and whānau in an emergency.

FENZ calls out for more career firefighters

Fire and Emergency NZ are calling on compassionate and energetic team players to consider becoming career firefighters.

"We are looking for dedicated individuals from all walks of life to join our team and serve New Zealanders," Fire and Emergency Deputy National Commander, Steph Rotarangi says.

"As a career firefighter, you will make a real difference in other people’s lives and the wider community, protecting and preserving lives, property, and the environment. Every day our firefighters help their communities prepare for emergencies and respond to incidents when the call is made."

There are always opportunities to progress through the ranks or branch out into one of the many career pathways available. Fire and Emergency offers extensive training and development for a variety of skills and roles.

Fire and Emergency’s latest video campaign aims to provide answers to questions most frequently asked by those thinking about applying. Watch the first in the series below:

Click here to find out more
Click here to watch the full video series

The Rural Youth & Adult Literacy Trust Appeal: Laptops needed


The Rural Youth & Adult Literacy Trust are asking for donations of used working laptops and computers so that they can be refurbished. They will be given to teenagers and adults studying with the Trust to achieve their literacy goals.

The charitable trust, established 2011, provides literacy coaching for rural and isolated teenagers and adults for those living in rural areas of New Zealand. The programme reaches those who cannot get to a literacy class, providing lessons by video conference and unlocking the student's potential.

If you have a working laptop or tablet that you would like to donate please call the Trust on 0800 891 339, or email

Find out more about the work of the Trust at

Adoptable dog of the week


Staffy x, About 10 months old, entire female. She loves pats, cuddles and lying in the sun. She is a very gentle dog, just starting to play. She needs a loving person to let her know that life can be good. 



If you are interested in adopting a dog, please contact us on 07 868 0200. Once your interest is known, a Dog Control Officer will be in contact with you to discuss the adoption and carry out the appropriate checks, this may include a visit to your property.

Please note that some people may not be acceptable for adoptions and that we reserve the right to make decisions on the most suitable homes for any dogs available for adoption.

If your adoption is successful, you will be required to register and microchip the dog prior to taking it home.


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