Town identity: push continues

Angela Holt

Community Board chair Ange Holt fears public apathy could stifle conversation around reviewing the town’s identity.

Holt raised the idea – reported exclusively in the News – of reviewing the present Rose Town moniker last month.

But she has also been at pains to stress her aim is to have a review of Te Awamutu’s identity – “who we are, what we relate to, how do we see ourselves going forward…”

She says any proposed changes to the town’s identity should be put to the public – and not just based on “information from four years ago, poorly attended workshops and a survey of 60 people.”

She says she has had feedback but want to hear from a broad cross section of the community.

A working group, with input from the Te Awamutu Chamber of Commerce is expected to be established next month.

At last week’s Community Board meeting Cr Lou Brown said the town’s Rose Society was “emphatic” about retaining the rose title.

Members had discussed the significance of the town’s rose gardens, varieties specific to the town and the involvement of the late international rose breeder Sam McGredy.

Te Awamutu earned the title of the Rose Town of New Zealand at a time when almost every property had a rose garden of its own.

Ange Holt said she had discussed the issue with News correspondent Luke East who noted the town had previously had its own crest of arms.

The crest depicted muskets, taiaha, a marae and a cross and at the time of the Te Awamutu Borough Council’s 50th Jubilee the crest was supported on either side by a rose.

The Rose Gardens were first established in 1969, but Te Awamutu had been holding rose shows for around half a century before then.

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