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Te Puke the Kiwifruit Capital of the World

Te Puke a small town in the Bay of Plenty that boasts so much Goodness and is world famous as the “Kiwifruit Capital of the World”.

“Te Puke Goodness Grows Here” is a saying we have adopted as Te Puke is more than just kiwifruit. People are the goodness that grows here along with everything good that can be grown and experienced in our wonderful region.

Audio: Demo Song House1

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ)

Diversity, Leadership, Unite the Community

Delicious sweets at Novelty Te Puke and Tauranga

I caught up with Puran Singh tonight in Te Puke. I met Puran some time ago at his Indian Sweets store called Novelty Te Puke. He also operates Novelty Tauranga and is integral to the Punjabi community.

As the founder of Vector Group Charitable Trust, we were approached to host a religious event and support a visiting Priest. I was present during the event and supported the organisers where I was needed. The food was prepared down the road at Puran’s Novelty Te Puke shop.The Indian community were very honourable and I was given the opportunity to approach the visiting priest who spoke wisdom into my life and over my community work.

As a WBOP Mayoral candidate, my vision is to see wider representation across the WBOP and believe that along with Maori representation, we should also be providing opportunity and invitation to our Indian community members. The Indian candidates must be given an opportunity in this coming election as I believe healthier decision making will result. Prior to my campaign submission, I had also approached some others in the WBOP Indian community and encouraged them to stand. I trust by next term, the WBOP candidacy will be bursting at the seams with diversity of worldview. I am also excited to see Kamal Yadav stand as candidate for the Katikati Community Board.

Diversity is extremely important and must be noted as a requirement for healthy community representation and decision making in the western bay of plenty.

It is a joy to see Puran Singh run as candidate for the Omokoroa Community Board and I am in full support of his contribution to great decision making, and 100% behind the opportunity to have the first ever Indian on the WBOPDC as a Community Board representative. We are in a new era and I am thrilled to walk alongside many great people, including our Indian brothers and sisters.

The upcoming Vibrant Diwali festivity with stalls and entertainment.
People of all ages and races will celebrate this festival of love and light with song, dance, colour, sumptuous culinary offerings and the exchange of sweets. Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2137098369923642/

I was asked in a BOP Times interview today, “How am I going to make changes around diverse representation if I am to become Mayor” and my answer was, “I already do this in our community, have been active in this respect before any thoughts of running for council were considered, and will continue to do so”. I don’t promise what I don’t already do, and I am good at what I do, and that is inclusivity, healthy diverse decision making and welcoming communities.

Puran Singh’s Profile

puran singh omokoroa
Puran Singh for Omokoroa Community Board

I came to New Zealand around 30 years ago, from that time I have seen the country develop, some in good ways and some in not so good. I have been a strong voice for the Sikh community, by helping them make a place in the community. Now I would like to help Omokoroa by giving them my dedication and willingness to listen and bring ideas forward to the community board.

My engagement with the community has always been strong within Tauranga as I will later on show but now I would like to stand out of my comfort zone and put myself out there to represent Omokoroa.

Matters I will look into as a community board member will be:

– the upgrade of the Omokoroa library as I feel it is a service important for all age groups. Our children should be feeling engaged in the environment in the best possible way. I feel the library has room for improvements I would like to look into.

– advocate for rates affordability, I understand how much rates can burn your wallet, and although rates are important for the development of the city, it is important the income is invested in the right sectors, where Omokoroa would like to see the development

– Review the building consent process to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, the building consent process is complex with a pile of information to be understood to ensure correct steps are taken, which can actually be very expensive, I want to review this and analyse what steps are important and make it easier for anyone that will be part of this consent.

– Strong voice to upgrade SH2 intersection, Between 2009 and 2018, 25 people have lost their lives and 66 have been seriously injured along this stretch of rural highway. Most of these accidents were caused by people running off the road and hitting trees, poles or deep ditches, head-on collisions and crashes at intersections. There needs to be a priority of upgrade and I will be the voice of it. Each section will take between 12-18 months to complete. The project is expected to be finished in 2023, and I want to review frequently to make sure it’s sticking to the plan and is completed in the timeframe.

Most importantly, I will listen and act according to the needs of our community, It is the community that needs to have their say so let’s bring back democracy to Omokoroa and make a difference together.


The logo design above which I did a while ago, has been officially approved by Te Puke Colab. As the co-founder of Vector Group, we have journeyed alongside others in this initiative. Good things take time, especially when it comes to proper collaboration. Our Te Puke national dance battle, held during youth week was the result of the Youth Engagement & Development working group, so also the Pink shirt Day in Maketu.

Te Puke National Dance Battle 2019

The imagery of the logo represents voice, communication, diversity as one conversation

In the years leading up to the end of 2017, various groups in the community had been collaborating in different ways in the social and community sector and achieving great outcomes. In acknowledgement of this rich history of collaboration in the region, the Te Puke social sector community decided to formalise a group that focused on working together as a community. Prior to the establishment of CO-LAB there were three forums. With the support of local funders, a workshop was organised (known as the ‘Vision to Reality’ workshop) with the aim of drawing out a shared vision for Te Puke. With community agreement to move forward together, a further workshop was organised to articulate what collaboration looked like for Te Puke. From this workshop, was the establishment of CO-LAB. At this point facilitation support was sourced through an external agency.

The group was named CO-LAB to represent not only ‘Collaboration’ but to also acknowledge that there is a focus on working in partnership, i.e ‘CO’, and that it is a group where ideas can be tested and trialed, i.e. LAB.

VISION: Our community is Thriving, Connected and Supported.

PURPOSE: Together, we move as one, and support our community to live with abundance, into the future

Areas of Focus
Following discussions as a group, areas of focus were developed to support decision-making on project work, and funding allocation. These areas were identified as being areas of common interest across the membership of CO-LAB, therefore supporting the opportunity to work together. The focus areas include:
 Youth Engagement & Development
 Housing
 Community Connection and Cohesion
 Responding to local trends and opportunities

Screen Sector Strategy 2030

Vote Stephen Fawcett for WBOP

The Screen sector’s intersect with a range of other sectors is really important. And it’s not just that these other sectors offer a supply chain for the screen sector. There is a mutually beneficial relationship between the Screen sector and other industries and sectors.

Major contributor to our GDP 
$1b directly to GDP
$3b indirectly

How we view and engage is changing 
-Sports audience stat 
-Consider what our young people are doing now.

Young people’s expectations of engagement is worthy of consideration – they expect NOW, FREE a mix of online and offline, lean in and lean out is blurred, and their engagement is shared with their community.

Fortnite – 
44 million viewers, 200 players with a 30 million prize pool 
Live and online – held at the tennis venue in the US
Winner of Fortnite = 2.4 million – more than wimbledon winner

The Prime Minister on behalf of the Government has called for the creation of a 10-year strategy for the New Zealand Screen Industry.

The Government has launched a new approach to industry policy, aimed at growing more innovative industries in New Zealand and lifting the productivity of our key sectors. One of these being the Screen Sector. The current government supports the continuing success of New Zealand as a destination for screen activity, including film, television, digital effects and post-production work.

I personally believe that the Western Bay of Plenty is a key stakeholder of unique content, opportunity and economic growth. I am radically excited about the importance the current Government sees in the contribution of the Screen Sector and I hope for a more welcoming attitude by local body councils, small business and global business in our region as they awake to the limitless opportunity that is erroneously discarded as “oh, they are just creatives, with no substance and nothing to contribute.”

As an avid filmer and creative, I was excited to attend the Screen Sector Strategy NZ Hui: Bay of Plenty in Rotorua this morning to be part of the BOP consultation for the creation of a 10 year strategy. My wife and I have walked alongside CEO Anton Steele of BOP Film predating any formalized BOP Screen Sector organisation. We are both proud of Anton’s commitment (alongside his team and partners) to this sector in our region and are excited with a future of many opportunities.

This hui is the first a multi-platform approach of engagement with the sector. It is an opportunity to hear more about how we got here, who is involved, what we are doing, and where we want to get to with this process. More importantly it’s also an opportunity to feed in our collaborative knowledge, expertise and perspective as we look forward to the next 10 years.

We are a dynamic and innovative sector that is on the precipice of global change. We have opportunities available to us as a result of who we are, where we are and how we work.

How can we maximize those opportunities and grow the sector in a way that honours our past, present and future, and ensure we thrive?

How do we build on the capacity and capability required to meet the challenges of change ahead of us?

This is our opportunity to shape the future of our sector.

The Prime Minister on behalf of the Government has called for the creation of a 10-year strategy for the New Zealand Screen Industry. It is intended that this strategy process be led by the industry and developed during 2019 and early 2020.There are several key questions that will shape the screen sector strategy and that recognise the dynamics of the interaction, interdependence and collaboration between the Industry, Central Government and Local Government. In doing so the Strategy should address:

  • What the industry can do for itself to meet the objectives of the strategy;
  • What the industry and Government can do together to meet the objectives of the strategy; and
  • What the industry expects the Government to do to meet the objectives of the strategy.

In order to progress the development of the screen sector strategy a facilitation group was established. The purpose of the facilitation group is to support the screen sector engagement process and to be a conduit for bringing the sector’s many voices into the strategy. While many of those in the group lead, or represent, specific groups and guilds, their role within the facilitation group is to have a wider focus: to champion the development of the strategy , and ensure an inclusive engagement process. In order to progress the development of the screen sector strategy a facilitation group was established.

The benefits of the Screen Sector to NZ and our region are hugely positive to economic growth, market value, opportunity and jobs. The screen sector is unique in that it is the cohesive connector to so many industries.

I am extremely excited to play a small part alongside other passionate creatives who believe in our future.

I hope we as WBOP, lead in the change sought across our country and recognise the significance of a new movement of inclusion and diversity and it’s import to decision making.

Indeed, I am an outsourcer, it is part of my top 5 strengths. I am good at connecting, strategy and outsourcing, and believe team is what makes for a healthy future, not some hero/lone ranger scenario that classifies any other ethnic or younger aged candidates as the unexperienced “tonto” (“tonto” translates as “a dumb person”, “moron”, or “fool”).

I may not have the skills or experience in some areas, but I can offer what others don’t have. There is always someone who can do the job better than myself, this same attitude should be contemplated by the current Mayor and elected members.

I have learnt this as a coder – there is ALWAYS someone who can do better than me in the field of IT, usually younger, and usually of different ethnicity, hence, why I ALWAYS run with collaborative opensource software development and infrastructure.

Some youth have far more capacity and capability than long serving professionals, hence, why I stand for youth. Look at the teens recently in news as examples, incredible.

Some of the largest and financially successful global corporations, Tesla, Facebook, Twitter, Stripe, PayPal et al  are inspired and governed by a younger generation and I think there is an unhealthy attitude toward youth and younger members held by our region and most definitely by some elected members. We have on our board a teen that is studying to be a lawyer, simultaneously international relations and a third language. I agree, experience is vital, but what a lot don’t realise, is that the inclusion of youth and younger thinkers and more ethnic diverse thinkers, is far more beneficial to decision making than they give time or credit.

I have stood in the WBOP 2019 Elections as an average Joe Blogs, both, as a scapegoat and to make the point that “anyone can run”, and that the message is true through all three opportunities I am running as candidate. If I can run, then why not others. And if this sparks interest into future elections then I have succeeded.

Decision making and good governance is not a one person scenario. This is my point, and some that are long in the tooth will not like this message.

In my opinion, examples of an elected 6 terms, 18 years without cycling out governance is detrimental to the decision making of our futures, not to mention our district.

Council most definitely has an issue on their hands with this new movement of youth interest. Council elected members will have to recognise this and work with the changes in motion or they will be left behind.

I honour my elders, i value wisdom and experience but I am most definitely pro multi-age and multi-ethnic decision making. Without it, there is no accurate presentation of our communities and without it, elderly who do not engage in mentoring or walking alongside younger members, are in my opinion, absolutely misguided and irrelevant.

If the 2019 WBOP elections result in business as usual, then the democratic “voice of voters” refuse to listen to the value; that a younger and more ethnic diverse governance has for our region.

As a candidate, community worker and within my private circles of influence, I hope we as the Western Bay of Plenty, Katikati, Maketu, Matakana Island, Omokoroa, Oropi, Paengaroa, Pongakawa, Pukehina, Te Puke, Te Puna and Minden, Upper Pyes Pa, Waihi Beach lead in the change across our country and recognise the significance of a new movement of inclusion and diversity.

See how things can be!

Saw a shared post and comments on Facebook by Matthew Tukaki recently which gives me hope toward relational governance and care. Just imagine a council poised toward communities with wellbeing at the heart of all they do, beginning with care, interest and humanity.

Love, compassion, kindness,respect etc. These principles are what “healthy communities” are made of. Role modelling these for upcoming generations. ❤

“The speaker of the New Zealand Parliament sitting in the speakers chair as Parliament sits to debate and discuss the big issues facing NZ .. with him a beautiful little pepe / baby – the new born son of Maori MP Tamati Coffey – Labour MP for Waiariki – having a feed and a nap. Aside from all the negatives and challenges we deal with isn’t it just bloody awesome when this happens? Speaker Trevor Mallard now that just made a middle aged overweight Maori fulla missing a front tooth get a heart warm!”

Be informed, check the minutes for how well you have been represented.

Go to this link https://www.westernbay.govt.nz/council/agendas-and-minutes and for each meeting, council, sub group, ward and community board you can evaluate for yourselves the calibre of representation.. I am not going to name anyone but look for repetition that tells a story of elected members who are paid, and consider how this could impact decision making for our communities.

Do a tally of those on leave

Do a tally of those late to meetings

And do a tally of all apologies

Work out the ratio of absenteeism across how many meetings. Consider the tardiness. Make an informed decision.

Our WBOP Campaign Together – Walking Alongside, toward a Relational, Multi Ethnic and Strategic Future

Some may think I enrolled as candidate for Western Bay of Plenty Mayor, Maketu/Te Puke Ward Councillor and Te Puke Community Board Member as a joke! crazy! ego! Or because I am a workaholic…

Workaholic for this district maybe, but a big fat no to the other reasons. NO, I AM FED UP!

I am discontent with the lack of representation we have had to walk through and hear of many other groups and community members reiterate the same disengagement. I hear the same overtones from the other wbop mayoral candidate also. “Disconnected” and non-relational, money counting, “apathetic disengagement” from the council to the community voiced needs. May I ask, where is the council that walks alongside those who are contributing financially? Where are the councillors at meetings? Tally the attendances up for WBOP and the Maketu/Te Puke district and you will be shocked. Do some research, look at the minutes of our representation and hunt out those stacked up apologies.

1. I stand for youth. I lead, am led and walk alongside. We should be giving opportunity for youth to grow, learn and make decisions.

2. I stand against the bully culture that we as a non-profit and as an individual have experienced from certain elected members, both prior to campaign and during.

3. I stand as a rural member of our district and protest our appalling roads, scarcity of internet, water issues, and lack of public transport. 6 days we had no water up Te Matai Rd due to power outages being reliant on power to pump bore. Our now address at 19 Bayly road can’t officially get ANY internet according to spark. I lived in Samoa and had better internet speeds with receiver nailed to coconut trees. Our daughter had no public transportation to school. We know what it is like to live rural.

4. As a Pacific Islander, I stand for diversity and inclusion and call for a reform of infrastructure around who is represent in our communities. Look at some of our previous constituents? Fifty+ shades of grey, white. I am a Kiwi by birth to my father and Australian to my mother but born and raised in rural communities in Papua New Guinea. I also have Pakistani heritage on my mums’ side, and I would love to see Asian/Indian representation across our district. I am a white man yes, but I am not your usual white man. I value our history, our context, I value Maori and yearn for a better voice. This is what I stand for.

5. I stand for the housing crisis and a quicker turnaround of resource consents and will advocate for housing for seasonal workers, and those committed to pastoral care initiatives to support Maori and WBOP residents amongst the kiwifruit and avocado export industry. I mean common WBOPDC, I know of a property here in Te Puke you refuse to look at, work with, or pass resource consent? What on actual earth! Get it together.

6. I stand for this region as a destination region with every town in the WBOP holding incredible value to eco-tourism, historical indigenous beauty and economic growth, and Te Puke/Maketu is one of those gems amongst a myriad. To those councillors who blast our region with negativity and disdain and say ill of our towns, I say remove them from office.

7. I stand because of you; I stand because your needs are my needs. I have listened, I have heard, you have seen me thoroughly engaged and invested in our community. Now it is time to radically re envision the WBOPDC as a council that is positively and relationally engaged and walking alongside communities with full support and strategic collaboration. I stand for an infrastructure change of hierarchy models, and disconnectedness and call for a relational model to become evident and embodied within the operations of the WBOPDC toward the communities it represents.

I call for change. Manageable debt is fine, it helps us all get out of bed. It will cost us as a region for sure, but better to have what we need and it cost us, than, it cost us and we are ignored and given the disinterested shoulder shrug.

Authorised by: Steve Fawcett – 19 Bayly Road, Te Puke

Te Puke Youth feature as BOP 48Hour film finalist: Beneath Bramble Bridge

No trolls under Te Puke bridge

BOP Nominee:
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Original Score/Song

BOP Awards:
Best Use of Genre
Best Bloopers

National Nominee:
Best Use of Genre