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11/07/2019 12:00 a.m.
Recently the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trustees advertised for expressions of interest from people who might want to join them in the creation of New Zealand’s first geopark.
Trust Chairman and Waitaki Mayor, Gary Kircher says, “We have chosen a group of people with a wide range of life experiences who will bring their skills to the fledgling organisation. The Trust is now at full strength and keen to get on with the challenges ahead.”
Trustee Mike Gray said, “There were many enquiries, from as far afield as Auckland. It was really heartening to know that there are people out there who aspire to the Geopark principles and are prepared to work hard to help establish New Zealand’s first geopark here in the Waitaki.”
So without further ado, here they are: we are joined by Helen Jansen, legendary steampunk originator and still sometimes seen in steampunk attire.
Gerald Carter is an architect who hails from Tai Tapu near Christchurch. He has long recognised the assets of our district and most recently he was instrumental in the design of the ‘Poshtel’ in Thames Street. “Hopefully his ‘outsider perspective’ will help the rest of us keep our feet on the ground,” says Mike.
Finally, Melanie Jones joins us, also a newcomer to our town. She has a wealth of experience in governance and marketing in the beverage industry and has recently joined the team at Tourism Waitaki.
The new trustees joined the geopark just in time to witness the successful workshopping of the Whitestone geogastronomy initiative, bringing together food and beverage producers and sellers from all over the district to work out how to drive value from the geopark banner.
The Trustees first job would be attend a 2-day induction session around the Geopark, where they will get to know each other in order to form a tight team, before turning their attention to the resubmission of an updated application to UNESCO and the wider involvement of the community in Geopark activity and development.