“Shaping Rotorua’s Future” is the tag-line of Evolve Rotorua, a new group created this week by a number of prominent and emerging local leaders.
Its founders say it’s time for a new voice in town, one that has a positive attitude, and which supports innovative ways to progress social and economic issues.
Evolve Rotorua is a new advocacy group whose aim is to champion progressive social and economic projects and policies for an inclusive and sustainable Rotorua.
It was founded by a number of committed Rotorua locals who are individuals involved in a variety of business and community initiatives.
“We hope to bring people together, to act as a focal point and as a connector for stakeholders who are involved in projects and plans that are designed to better Rotorua," says Newly-elected Chairperson, Kelly Shrimpton.
"We want to help showcase policies and ideas that will improve our town, and to facilitate engagement and discussion on the future of Rotorua.”
Founding members include Rotorua solicitor Ben Sandford, who sets out the work the group will do: “There are a range of projects that we’re initially interested in supporting, and we’re always open to hearing more ideas about plans that will help Shape Rotorua’s Future.
"For example, we are looking at how best we can support initiatives like: the lakefront development; the creation of a sports hub in Rotorua; the work being done on sustainable food hubs such as through Kai Rotorua; efforts to address the housing needs of our community including unaffordability and homelessness; the use of our forests and Redwoods and supporting sustainable local use of the natural resources on our doorstep; promoting Rotorua as a technology hub; amongst other ideas.”
Matt Browning, one of the founders of Digital Basecamp, is another of the names behind the Evolve Rotorua initiative.
“We believe that in order to contribute to Shaping Rotorua’s Future we need to develop and support positive progressive plans and policies that take into account the needs of all of our community members," says Matt.
"We have a really vibrant town filled with interesting people and exciting events and activities, and we need to make sure these get the support and attention they deserve.”
Gary Sullivan, founder of Nzo Industries and co-founder of Evolve Rotorua, emphasised that Evolve Rotorua is non-political and will not be fronting or supporting any political candidates.
“We’re a group independent from political affiliations, but with a clear agenda to push all parties and candidates towards thinking about the long-term needs of our town. We’re focused on championing projects and policies that will make our city a better place to live.”
Claire Mahon, Director of the Global Human Rights Group, says “I was keen to get involved in helping create Evolve Rotorua as I think Rotorua is a world-class place, and it’s important that we continue to invest in progress that will benefit all who live here.
"There’s too much emphasis on the nay-sayers, and we want to shift discussion to focus on what’s great about our home and what could be even better.”
Ryan Gray, community advocate, who has also been involved from the beginning, explains: “We’ve been out talking with local community groups and businesses working in a range of areas, and one thing we’ve noticed is that there’s a lot of impressive stuff happening around town, but often it’s happening in silos. Evolve Rotorua hopes to help in communicating and sharing information and linking together those working on similar issues.”
Evolve Rotorua is set to become an active voice on many issues affecting our community and will be pushing Council and others to be forward-looking, innovative, and positively proactive when it comes to planning for our future.
The group plans to start promoting projects via their website and local groups or individuals who are working on projects that will help make Rotorua better are invited to submit their info via: https://www.evolverotorua.co.nz/submit/
You can follow what Evolve Rotorua is up to via their Facebook page and website: http://evolverotorua.co.nz/ and https://www.facebook.com/evolverotorua/