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Community Notices

What’s in a name? A lot actually! Public competition – words needed for this great town

Whitianga doesn’t want to be a John (or Jane) Doe. Our eastern beach paradise deserves a distinct identity. This should be one that we can shout about from the rooftops by creating branding assets and using them wherever we communicate, through our road signage, our town adornments, our business marketing materials and promotions, our festivals, and events and so much more.
 |  Suzanne Hansen  | 

You might ask why this is important, but there are some solid examples of how a coordinated plan of identity can work for a town.

Take Napier as an example. Following the massive earthquake in 1931, when fires destroyed most of the commercial heart of Napier, the city was rebuilt in the style of that era, Art Deco.

In 1985, a group of citizens formed the Art Deco Trust in order to promote a newly published, “Take a Walk-Through Art Deco Napier” leaflet funded by the Museum, the Ministry of Works and the Napier City Council which attracted 1000 initial visitors. With focused marketing over the ensuing years, Napier has become the the Art Deco Capital of NZ, hosting a regular programme of festivals and events, city adornment and promotion which has put the small town on the map internationally.

Another good example is the small Marlborough Sounds hamlet of Havelock, which is now known as the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World because they self-proclaimed as such.

Havelock is a tiny town of roughly 600 residents who have transitioned their whole town into a destination to visit with a fabulous festival in March which rivals the Bluff and Hokitika festivals, attracting over 4000 attendees. Their town is festively decorated with mussel signage throughout, and offers great mussel cuisine, boat and factory tours, and they even have a mascot, Matua Mussel, whom you can see riding a surfboard in the centre of town. Kitschy? Yes; but effective. Havelock is a destination as a result.

Of course, the Coromandel Peninsula has a wider motto, “Good for your Soul”, but the Coromandel is a large geographically diverse region, with unique communities who have unique draw cards. Currently, there’s a sense that our geographic boundaries are somewhat smudged between the various destinations on the Coromandel Peninsula.

But what is unique about the Mercury Bay and what makes us an obligatory visit when you are coming to the Coromandel Peninsula? What puts Mercury Bay on anybody’s list of travel priorities when they are planning holidays with scarce leisure time?

We want your help to decide this. The Mercury Bay Business Association in partnership with Coromandel’s CFM and The Coromandel Informer, are running a public competition to define what is great about the Mercury Bay so we can create and better promote a strong identity.

We’re after collective brain power to work out how to best describe our place to the rest of the world. We ask you to take a little time to properly visualise Whitianga with its surrounding communities from Hot Water Beach up to Whangapoua. Come up with your own thoughts on this, a few words that identify what makes our location a place of some significance, a destination worthy of consideration. From there we will distil your thoughts and come up with a handful of viable options for selection.

Go to Discover Whitianga – The MBBA to enter your ideas or drop them into The Informer Office on Monk St, in town.

We will choose four of the best entries and each will win a $50 voucher from four local stores. The competition runs from June 5 through June 21, 2024, so get in your ideas!I

Note: In last week’s issue, Suzanne wrote about the signs leading into Whitianga and that there is nothing directly clear or descriptive about Whitianga’s character or features on these signs. Do your best to get behind this initiative led by Suzanne on behalf of the Mercury Bay Business Association.