By Grant Johnston
The link between Te Awamutu and its Australian twin town Moree should be rejuvenated, not abandoned says Waipa District councillor Gaidyn Flay.
Mr Flay visited Moree recently, during a visit to see family in Perth. He has been part of a group reviewing the twin town link and the merits of continuing with it.
On his arrival in Moree he was taken straight to the local Rotary Club, where he spoke about the reason for his visit. Mr Flay’s host in Moree was Rotary president Max Whibly, who is also a Moree Plains Shire Council member.
Visiting the Moree Information Centre the following day, Mr Flay dropped off brochures from Te Awamutu.
“The manager was most enthusiastic that the twin town link must continue,” Mr Flay says.
Mr Flay was guest of honour at a council luncheon, attended by councillors and senior staff members.
“Both the deputy mayor and general manager spoke and it appeared very positive that the desire was for the twin town link to be invigorated. I duly replied outlining past exchanges, which began in 1972 when Moree Mayor Perry James visited Te Awamutu (which had the same 2400 post code as Moree). He invited both the Te Awamutu Brass Band and Te Awamutu Pipe Band to attend Moree P and A Show in 1974. These visits were carried out and further developed to numerous groups and individuals making Moree a town to visit in North Western New South Wales, much the same size as Te Awamutu.”
Mr Flay says the drivers for the 30 year association in the beginning were Mr James and Te Awamutu Mayor Bob Vaile and Cr Chris Firth, with others joining in over the years.
Moree band leader Ted Newbury visited his daughter (Gaynor Krippner) and family in Te Awamutu recently and was hosted at a function in the RSA and by Te Awamutu Rotary Club. Mr Newbury also met with Mayor Alan Livingston and the group investigating the future of Te Awamutu’s link with Moree, including Bob Vaile, Chris Firth, David Haberfield and Gaidyn Flay.
“My contacts in both Te Awamutu and Moree leave me in no doubt that the desire to rekindle the past long association is equally strong in both towns and must continue. Leadership needs to be managed at Council level, encouraging community involvement,” Mr Flay says.
He says there is potential for a wide variety of exchanges including musicians, sportspeople, students, businesspeople, farm interest groups etc.