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Ed Said - A decade of local news

dadThis month, ten years ago, the very first issue of the Mangawhai Focus hit the streets.

The flimsy, black and white, twelve pager was produced just once per month for the first four years of it’s life to fit with our other commitments. Initially it was 4000 issue print run compared with todays 20-28 pages, 7,000 minimum print run twice monthly and up to 10,000 in mid-summer.

The lead story was expounding confidence in the growth of Mangawhai with an artists impression and a pic of the very early construction of The Hub, now a fully-fledged retail and commercial centre, the baby of Mark and Susan Rowbotham.

A review of Mangawhai School Ag Day said $10,000 had been raised for the first time compared to $30,000 this year. Craig Matheson was selling stage 3 sections in The Anchorage subdivision on $5,000 deposit and priced from $145,000. Mary Madden was preparing her Love2Dance troupe for their end of year show.

Analiese Nelder, Sam Wilkinson and Stephanie Wilkinson were all successful with their calves at Kaiwaka Group Day.

Jeanette Vickers was selling real estate for Bayleys at their Wood St office while also finding homes for stray cats all around town.

Barry and Sue Robinson had just taken up the catering contract at the Club, Mitchell Northin, Arrian Heron, Zane Renall, Shane Parker, Louis Smith and Lukas Kendall were all selected to play for Rodney/Otamatea in Taniwha Cup rugby while Ari Tidyman won the 11yr boys inter-school cross country.

Another new arrival in town was Hayley Jane Markwick, new baby daughter for Tina and Grant and pictured with older siblings Sam and Emma.

Many of the youngsters we picture these days were not even born when the paper first arrived. Such is the passing of time.

Suffice it to say we have all grown considerably since November 2005 – some grown up but all grown older. Still, we enjoy bringing snippets of news from the community,to the community. Mangawhai has evolved into an eclectic international mix of folk of all persuasions, colours, nationalities and origins just as is the rest of New Zealand. Our growth, aided by technology, means we are, if not an outer City suburb, barely a lunch-break away from the Big Smoke and that’s one of it’s major attractions along with surf, beaches, fishing and general lifestyle. The problems that beset Mangawhai are actually identical to those that beset every other community at some stage in their growth and the solutions also no different, depending almost entirely on the goodwill and community spirit that prevails and will always win out for the benefit of the community.

More than once we had considered producing The Focus on a weekly basis, but it was only considered briefly when we thought about the ‘hamster on a treadmill’ analogy. While locals now travel many kilometres in every direction for work, business, school, and sports the paper is the Mangawhai Focus and as such, though we touch on the outer areas, the Focus is, simply, Mangawhai.

I guess we can’t sign off without mentioning the passing of rugby great Jonah Lomu and the outpouring of grief and accolades coming forth this past week brings home just how widely he was revered and the esteem with which he was held both on and off the field. His rugby career was initially a case of ‘right place, right time’ as professional rugby attracted large monetary investment and its stars became world renowned though at 6 ft 5ins (196 cms) and 118 kgs few commanded the attention of Jonah. Indeed many of his fan base were not even born when he was first an All Black in 1994 but know well his deeds both as a player and later as an Ambassador despite battling the health problems that suddenly took his life but leaving a legacy which will outlast our lifetimes.

Just my opinion.
We’re happy to hear yours.



The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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