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Community Notices

An identity, a leader, an historian, a one-person welcome-wagon

Noel Hewlett and his wife Nicola have lived in Whitianga for 42 years. More than that, Noel has been involved in almost all aspects of community life. He has been a mover-and-shaker in town and district affairs. His keen mind, and copious notes and minutes retain and describe the details of the ups and downs of this community and district. Now he wants to share some of this information, face to face with whoever is interested.
 |  Stan Stewart  | 

Recently Noel was speaking about the Bike Park at an environment gathering attended by MBAS students and teachers, Waikato Regional Council

At his own initiative, he is considering becoming Whitianga’s unofficial ‘Town Crier’ (there might be a better name). On occasional weekday mornings, suitably attired, he will stand in a public space, possibly near iSite, ready to talk with passers-by and answer questions. Noel can answer queries about local history, personalities, town, and district projects. He can talk about initiatives, official and privately completed, failed, and pending … you name it.

It was the purchase of a Bright IGA grocery store forty-two years ago that brought Noel and Nicola to Whitianga. The site of the grocery store is now Subway. They quickly fell in love with the town and its people. It’s still the same way. This love for Whitianga and the people is what motivated Noel’s amazing commitment to community life. It is the source of his desire to be this unofficial, on-the-street spokesperson.

Noel believes his sunny personality and community spirit are mostly due to his parents and positive family life they provided. He grew up in Otorohanga on a swamp block farm milking 80 cows. His memories of being trucked (riding on the back of a truck) to Sunday school, family sing-a-longs and rolling-up – the-carpet dances at home are still vivid. After the farm, his work life was varied and pre-Whitianga, included time with Woolworths. All of the above – family life and varied work experience prepared him for grocery trading and community life and leadership in Whitianga.

Noel’s contribution to the town and district is noteworthy. From a very long list of contributions to our community, here are a few highlights: – Involved with many aspects of the district recovery needed after Cyclone Bola – 1988. Chairman of the business association – 1982-88; Purchased the old Fish Factory in 1995 and made it available for community use. Subsequently sold and is now the Monkey House Theatre; 1995 entered politics – Community Board 1998, Council 2010; 2000 assisted Buffalo Beach homeowners effected by storm damage; Worked on the Whitianga Council Committee tasked with the Waterways liaison – beginnings and development; 2003 – 2006 Chairman for Mercury Bay; 2007-2010 Chairman for Tairua/ Pauanui Community Board.

Noel takes pride in some Council decisions made in his time: The Queens Covenant on the Simpson’s Beach Campsite and the Ferry Landing site to Jacobs Point.

The Bike Park: Right to this day, Noel is proud of the Bike Park – a unique site on Mowai Road for children and all ages, for family picnics and recreation. This is Whitianga’s unique hidden gem. For many years he has advocated for this facility and physically laboured to make the dream come true. Just last Wednesday, Noel spoke to a gathering of Year 7& 8, and Year 9 &10 MBAS students doing pest trap setting and trap checking at the Whitianga Bike Park.

All the above means that Noel is superbly resourced to be Whitianga’s Town Crier. This paper will keep readers informed as to the progress of this idea. Comments and questions are welcome directly to Noel 021 177 4852 or through the Informer Office – 07 866 2090.