Waihi Social Development Group Overview (August 2010)
Waihi Social Development Group evolved as a sector of Waihi Community Vision tasked with looking at social development in Waihi after open pit mining finishes.
The Group consists of 17 members from social, health, education and justice organisations delivering services in Waihi. A core group of these agencies meet regularly to further the vision of the Group.
The overall vision is the development of a 'community village of social services, with space for recreation and arts' to be known as Pukewa Village in recognition of the maunga that is now the open pit mine. This one-stop-shop for community support and activities is designed with community input as a place that feels good for people to meet and access support and activities.
Several sites for the village have been identified and researched over the past 4 years, none of which have eventuated further than drawing stage due to various factors. The focus is still that of developing the village concept, with other options are currently being considered.
Waihi Social Development Group entered into discussion with Newmont Waihi Gold several years ago to explore the divestment of mine owned houses back to community over time. One house has so far been leased. The aim is to provide a variety of housing need including low cost rentals, emergency housing, transitional housing, housing for youth in need, kids returning to families after being in care, people coming back in to community after prison, single people and families. We also intend to look at home ownership options for low income families.
A small group of 3 members worked with a University Masters student to initiate development of a community driven social policy around how big industry, specifically mining, communicate and engage with community.
Waihi Social Development Group continue to represent social development as part of the WCV – actively advocating for social needs to be acknowledged and developed alongside those with an economic focus. This includes our involvement with Social Impact Assessments which highlight needs that are still inadequately addressed, that require a more collaborative and better resourced approach to make change to our high statistics for abuse, violence, mental illness and poverty.
For more information contact Tessa Mackenzie, Project Coordinator on 027 232 9940.
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