Rose by another name?

The iconic bird sculpture at Te Awamutu Rose Garden designed by Ngāti Korokī Kahukura artist Fred Graham.

The home to at least 20 Rosetown businesses – and the world-renowned Rose Garden – may be asked to debate a new town brand.

Members of the Te Awamutu Community Board aired the thorny issue at their monthly meeting this week – which ironically, featured a successful application for funding from the Te Awamutu Rose Society towards November’s 58th annual Te Awamutu Rose Show.

Ange Holt

Ange Holt

At risk of having her report nipped in the bud, board chair Ange Holt said she had been involved in a discussion with a marketer about the town’s main street “and ended up with a relook at the identity of Te Awamutu”.

“The last time a ‘do we want to be Rosetown’ was undertaken was a few years back and organised by Susan Trodden for the Chamber.

“I think if we both get together on this and get an interested working group to drive it, it could provide a great outcome,” she said.

Te Awamutu’s links with roses bloomed in the 1960s and in 1969 the Jaycees and several community groups developed a rugged piece of waste land in Arawata Street into the Rose Garden.

Soon after that, because of the Rose Garden’s prominent position at the eastern entrance of the town, people began referring to Te Awamutu as ‘The Rose Town of New Zealand”.

Four years ago, during a workshop on Te Ara Wai, a museum to showcase Waipā and New Zealand history, town leaders acknowledged it was probably time to ditch the Rose Town moniker and come up with something linked to Te Ara Wai.

Susan O’Regan.

Board member and councillor Susan O’Regan said there was a lot of work done then which developed into branding discussions about the town.

“I wonder if there is an exercise where we pull together the work done previously,” she said.

From there the board could develop a strategic plan.

“This is very relevant and pertinent but it’s not about wasting people’s time,” she said.

Holt said there was an opportunity with Te Ara Wai now being established across the road from the Rose Garden and at one of the entrances to the town, to revisit Rose Town.

“Is Rose Town still relevant?”

Holt said a Waikato business student could assist with research.

The project could be a Community Board/Chamber of Commerce initiative.

“It’s an opportunity to engage. We’ve got a lot of new people in town who we could be asking. We also need to make sure the voice of iwi is heard and included.”

Possibilities included marrying European influences of roses with Māori identity such as a pou decorated around the base with bright red roses depicting blood that fell on both sides during the Land Wars, she said.

The board agreed to establish a working group to explore the identity of Te Awamutu.

Part of the Te Awamutu Rose Garden

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