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What Is The Soul Of Tamahere?

Tamahere is in the heart of the Waikato. It has a school with 140 years of history, a church established in December 1882, a modern Community Centre, many businesses’ and now a Village with sports/recreation grounds and Piazza for community events and entertainment.

Right now we are contemplating the essence of our community spirit. This quest is spearheaded by voices resonating with history and hope, voices that ask, "What is the Soul of Tamahere?"

Tamahere is a blend of beautiful pastoral charm and growing village life. Its boarder is the Waikato River to the west, a rich farming history and is the birth place of Ngāti Hauā chief Tarapipipi Te Waharoa (Wiremu Tamihana), where he met Brigadier General GJ Carey on 27 May 1865, laid down his taiaha and agreed that “the Queen’s laws would also be the laws for the Māori King”.

The last decade or so has seen great change in Tamahere, a population increase to almost 9,000 representing almost 11% of those who live in the Waikato District, the completion of prominent projects like the Community Hall, Tamahere Village complex, the Te Awa Cycleway, Tamahere Country Club, the Waikato Expressway, all marking a new era of infrastructure and participation. Yet, amidst these tangible strides, the intangible heartbeat of Tamahere – its Soul – is what the community seeks to define and nurture.

'Pencarrow Rd At Sunset' Image by Magda James a Pencarrow Rd resident.

The Soul of a place is the indefinable essence binding its people, history, and aspirations. For Tamahere, this Soul is rooted in its past – from the days when the local school taught a handful of pupils to its transformation into a hub drawing families from far and wide. The school, alongside the church, has long been the cornerstone of community life, a tradition that continues to this day. But as Tamahere evolves, the question arises: how can this Soul be preserved and expanded?

Contributors to Tamahere's community dialogue suggest the soul of the area is still very much centered around the Church and School. However, as the area grows with new developments like the Tamahere Country Club and the influx of businesses, there's potential for these entities to contribute to the community's spirit. 

Drawing parallels with Raglan, a locality with a "very strong 'Soul'", Tamahere's residents are encouraged to look at the power of community-driven initiatives, volunteerism, and events emboding the local spirit.

The challenge lies in engagement. Tamahere's residents, many of whom cherish their lifestyle blocks, may need a catalyst to look outward and actively participate in the broader community. The establishment of a village centre and potential collaboration with the Waikato District Council (WDC) for event support are steps toward this communal engagement.

Ideas for fostering Tamahere's soul include employing an events organiser to bring the Piazza to life with regular entertainment, activities supported by local businesses, food trucks and musicians. While the church and school initiate community events, there's scope for the Piazza and stage area to become a regular gathering place, offering a platform for local talent and a nexus for social interaction.

For Tamahere, expressing its Soul is akin to weaving a tapestry of history, community, and shared experiences. It's about starting small, perhaps with a Christmas function at the Piazza, and building from there. It's about seeing who turns up, who participates, and who contributes to the shared story of Tamahere.

 What are your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions?

Tamahere Community Committee is a reflection of the democratic and inclusive spirit that Tamahere wishes to embody, standing at the crossroads of tradition and growth, the journey to define and embrace the Soul of Tamahere, promising to be as enriching as the destination itself. 

 Have Your Say By Clicking HERE!

Thought contributions from TCC Chairman Charles Fletcher & Councillor Mike Kerr. Word organisation by website editor Scott Mathias