By DAVID HILL
Waiau has its own community connector.
Courtney Pemberton has been in the role for three months, working alongside Jess Davidson, who is based at Culverden, to connect people and organisations in the Amuri area.
“It’s quite an important role, particularly in the post-quake environment and because there hasn’t been a Waiau connector before, so people didn’t know the role existed.”
She is employed 10 hours a week and attends local citizen’s meetings and supports various community activities and organisations in the area.
“It’s about keeping up with what’s happening in the community and keeping everyone connected.
“Ten hours a week can go fast and you can use it up in two days, so there’s a lot of volunteer hours, which I don’t mind because I want to get it done and support the community.”
She encourages people to get in contact with ideas for events and activities, and the connectors will do their best to connect them with the support they may need.
Courtney was originally from Milton in South Otago and moved to Perth in Western Australia at the age of 10.
She moved back to New Zealand after meeting her partner Daniel Pemberton, who has lived all his life in the Hurunui district.
Daniel’s family are dairy farmers, but the couple have converted to sheep and beef, working on a farm near Rotherham, before moving to a farm 7km out of Waiau four years ago , where Daniel is a stock manager.
It means the family has been associated with all three Amuri schools, as eldest child Deegan, aged 12, attended Rotherham School and now takes the bus to Amuri Area School, while Noah, 5, attends Waiau School and Harper, 3, attends the Waiau Playcentre.
Courtney says she has recently connected with the new Waiau Community Garden and is keen to get more people involved.
She says the community garden hopes to have an event with a barbecue and bouncy castle soon, while setting up a roster will be a priority in the new year. Other initiatives she has connected with include the Amuri Vehicle Trust, which is after volunteer drivers, and she hopes to set up a book exchange.
“We do our thing in Waiau, as they do in Rotherham and Culverden. One of the main reasons I applied for the position was to get the three communities together more often and build a stronger relationship.”