Thorndon/Pipitea – WREMO Community Resilience Workshop – June 2016

We started out the night by thinking through some ‘best kept secrets’ in Thorndon/Pipitea… including things that make it feel like home, and that make you glad to be a part of this community.

Looking at all the great things suggested during our meeting in July, we noticed three major themes. Another way to look at these is as three broad responses to the statement “Thorndon is…”

A VIBRANT PLACE – There’s a lot going here – great cafes and restaurants like Mojo, Café Classic and the Chippery, a bustling daytime population of professionals and young students (five schools!), and of course the historic character and local Marae add to a living heritage of Thorndon past and present.

WELL CONNECTED – With a conflux of the motorway, rail, footpaths and bus routes, we’re able to get around within our community with relative ease, as well as easily connect to other parts of the region.

A GREAT PLACE TO RELAX – As the work-day bustle quietens down in the evening and on weekends, Thorndon/Pipitea locals have lots of great places to unwind and relax. With an abundance of well-kept green-spaces like Katherine Mansfield Park and the Botanical Gardens within easy walking distance, and other connecting walks are a hallmark of living here.

Taken together, these best kept secrets paint part of the picture of ‘our place’; where we can meet for events, business, or just to catch up over a bite or a coffee. It’s a place where folk proudly point to history, as well as look to new opportunities and a modern experience. In short, it’s a great place!

The challenge now is to take something great and imagine how it could be even better. Some of the ideas you contributed to on the night included:

  • Promoting what resources are available through newsletters
  • Refresh and promote Community Response Plans
  • Community meetings with interesting speakers
  • Welcome packs for new residents
  • Pursue historic buildings ratings
  • Improve heritage pathways – better lighting and events
  • Community gardens
  • Develop local social media

The highest amount of interest fell on three ideas. While all the ideas listed are potentially powerful routes to building better community cohesion, many people at the workshop found the following three to be great places to start:

Micro-planning/zoning: Getting to know our strengths and needs at a much more high-definition level; as parts of streets, or small neighbourhood clusters of residences, or apartment blocks.

Special Interest Groups: Creating a forum for people with specific skill sets and knowledge like tradespeople, doctors and nurses, vets and so on that live in Thorndon/Pipitea.

Broadcasting Local Resources: Using local lines of communication like the TRA website and newsletter to share information about local response resources.

Though there was limited time on the night we did share a lot. Often we have further reflections and ideas afterwards, so please share these with us. And if you would like to join in the planning on our Residents’ Committee, please do accept this open invitation.

The wonderful things Thorndon/Pipitea have to offer

  • Quiet nights and weekends even though very close to the city
  • Close to the CBD
  • 80% solid buildings
  • Inner city native birdlife
  • Inner city convenience
  • Ease of walking to gardens e.g. Katherine Mansfield Garden and Botanic Gardens
  • Thorndon/Pipitea is one of the residential hearts of Wellington
  • Historic area
  • One of the first settlement areas of Wellington
  • Northern Ridgeway Walkway
  • Pipitea Marae
  • Good mix of ages, ethniciities,residential/commercial etc
  • Safe environment
  • Caring and considerate
  • Proud residents
  • Close railway station
  • Unique style
  • Heart for many embassies
  • Five schools (primary and secondary) and day care and kindergartens
  • Secure power (underground)
  • Has the Thorndon Residents Association, Thorndon Historical Society, Thorndon Fair, Thorndon Farmers Market
  • Many homes and buildings are recognised by Heritage New Zealand and have been plaqued by the Thorndon Historical Society
  • Large supermarket
  • Scenic, vibrant, connected, historic, safe, central, well resourced
  • Ease of access to national Library, Archives, concerts at the churches, church services, bars and restaurants, cafes
  • Access to Te Ahumairangi Hill (formerly Tinakori Hill) for hiking and walks
  • Starting to build resilience as a community – first steps
  • Mobile residents as well as long standing residents
  • Hub for transport exits and entries (motorway, Thorndon Quay, railway, ferry)
  • Heavily connected to people from outside Thorndon/Pipitea during the day

Potential Initiatives

IdeaDescription of ideaInterest level# interested in action groupHow
Micro planning/ClustersTRA needs a plan that brings people together for a purpose e.g. Competition/event2111More Thorndon/Pipitea residents completing WREMO training, Red Cross training together.
Establish a community hall/centreThorndon is split by a motorway going through it. The establishment of a community hub would be advantageous for the community21Need Council backing, fundraising, knowledge of what the 'hub' would be used for, interested parties. Look at the Pipitea Marae as a 'model'.
Special Interest GroupsKnowledge of the useful and specialist people resources Thorndon/Pipitea has. For example, nurses ,doctors, vets, builders, tradesmen, trained Civil Defence personnel, Red Cross174Advertise on Face Book/Neighbourly site. Organise buddies/support for the vulnerable e.g. Elderly, school children (schools will have plans), renters, ethnic minorities, new residents, disabled.
More connection with localsThis is a project initially identifying how and where and when you are able to connect with locals15Thorndon Festival (different from the Thorndon Fair) focused on street parties, picnics etc. Invite councillors. Use Farmers Market as a place to have a stand and communicate ideas etc to locals.
Improve heritage pathways and lighting and run events around these. Purpose: brings community together, meet people, make the area more safe with lighting improvements plus good for residents and visitors to show pride in enhancing Thorndon/Pipitea.10
Community meetings with interesting speakersSpeakers should have some link to the area , history of the area or matters linked to Thorndon/Pipitea10
Footbridge to the stadiumIn case of emergency10
Pursue historic building ratingsEmbed by formal recognition the historic homes and buildings of note. Ensure the TRA encourages strengthening where required and let the community know about progress.8Have a clear plan with local government etc that no buildings will be rushed to be demolished after an event unless life threatening. Thorndon/Pipitea does not want 'rapid' demolition as seen in Christchurch. Salvage should also be seriously considered e.g. facading and taking pieces from buildings beyond full repair and making them part of a new structure or placed in the Thorndon/Pipitea area as a memory of the past.
Broadcast resource availability/sitesInclude information on local response resources in Newsletter and on TRA website. For example, where churches are, Civil Defence, Water, Marae etc73Walking tour of resilience resources e.g. WREMO, Civil Defence, Water, churches, join up the local halls to be ready should they be needed e.g. Loaves and Fishes, school halls, Pipitea Marae, Stadium, Bridge Clubs etc
Welcome pack for new residentsIdentify new residents and give them a pack with information about Thorndon/Pipitea re: heritage and places but also information useful if there were a disaster.7
Refresh and promote community response planThis update would be placed on the website and advertised to members as well as in the TRA newsletter6
Community Garden(s)Not necessarily vegetables5Helping the schools with their gardens e.g. Thorndon Primary School.
Design a posterPride in ThorndonAssistance from Council, TRA and THS, retailers, schools etc. A 'community project'.