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Meeting to allay community concerns



16 MF-MFCmeet-468A meeting to dispel rumours and clarify events surrounding Mangawhai Domain’s highly conflicted AGM and its aftermath was well attended by over 50 residents on August 16.

While some were content to listen to Mangawhai Football Club’s (MFC) president Dustin Reif and vice president Matt Rowe’s clarification of events leading up to and occurring after the AGM, others came armed with information and lists of questions.

Kaipara District Councillor Peter Wethey acted as chairman of the meeting although he stated clearly that he was there as an individual community member, independent of his council role.

Wethey, aware of the ongoing conflict and heightened emotions that still pervade the community around the Domain issue, began the proceedings by asking for respectful behaviour to ensure everyone has the opportunity to speak.

Questions from the floor included disputes over the prospective sports hub, clarification around the voting rights of the three sports representatives who had dual roles as committee members, and the alleged football club ‘takeover’, described as ‘sneaky’ by one speaker.

Rowe clarified that MFC, who turned up in large numbers at the AGM, voted only one new person with ties to the football club onto the committee and there was never any intention of trying to dominate the Domain to gain more control.

“That just hasn’t happened,” he says. “The guts of it is… in theory you could vote lots of people on to the Domain committee and change the constitution, so the fact that we had a lot of people there and didn’t vote a whole lot of football people onto the committee proves that is not what we were doing there.”

A number of questions also pertained to talk about MFC wanting to change the Domain’s structure including developing the front fields, applying for an alcohol license for the clubrooms, and wanting a mortgage on the Domain to fund improvements, all to which Rowe answered a resounding ‘No’.

Rowe was also asked if he could work with the current ‘caretaker committee’ if the same people were voted back in. He replied saying that he has no other problems other than being able to continue with the project of developing and promoting sport at the club.

Wethey was also able to alleviate concerns around the Domain being placed under council control if the conflict could not be resolved, saying “there was enough community concern for that not to happen.”

On reflection of the meeting Rowe says it proved to be a good opportunity for people to ask questions and learn the truth about recent allegations made against MFC.

“The football club is part of this community and full of families that use the Domain regularly, we are simply looking to fundraise and add more value to a wonderful resource,” he says. “As one of the attendees suggested, we should post more details about the plans that we have, so that our intentions can’t be misinterpreted or misunderstood.”

In summing up the meeting, Wethey encouraged residents to not lose sight of what a fantastic community asset the Domain is.

“It is owned by the community, to be used for the community,” he says. “What has occurred is a speed bump which can be overcome… I suspect the next Domain AGM will be a full house…. we can ride this out by working together.”


“The football club is part of this community and full of families that use the Domain regularly, we are simply looking to fundraise and add more value to a wonderful resource.”

- Matt Rowe


Mangawhai Football club representatives face up to residents questions and put an end to rumours at a meeting in the the Library Hall.

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