Enhancing Putaruru



This page presents thoughts and action about building a stronger Putaruru.

There is further archived material here at Putaruru Positives.

Views expressed are not necessarily those of Pride in Putaruru.












In February 2015, a meeting between Visitor Solutions, Council Representatives and Pride in Putaruru members was held at the Plaza. Earlier in the day a team of two from Visitor Solutions walked around the business areas of Putaruru gathering impressions about what they saw and heard.

The purpose of the meeting was to move forward from the submission Pride in Putaruru made to the South Waikato District Council for special funding earlier in the year and the subsequent response from the council to engage in moving forward dialogue. This initial meeting allowed Visitor Solutions to ask questions and make comments, rather than produce a completed plan.

It was thought that targeting those who are not stopping in Putaruru should be a first priority. To achieve this means putting a value proposition in front of drivers that makes them want to stop. Once this is happening, we can then focus on how we get even more people stopping.

The present water feature area by the roundabout is still an ideal location for an engaging feature and Visitor Solutions felt that having a icon like many other towns would be like using a model from the past – there are many such examples in New Zealand. They suggested that a feature for the future should be engaging and interactive. It needs to be like a paid employee working for Putaruru.

The Pride in Putaruru, SWDC submission in 2014 was based on developing a concept plan and an engaging, interactive feature. At the February meeting, Visitor Solutions strongly reinforced the idea of developing a Putaruru plan and exploring an interactive feature as key initial steps.

Visitor Solutions suggested that this three way dialogue continues in a planned strategic way. We want to be the best service town in the South Waikato.

Putaruru should be open to change, but we need a clearly established fixed starting position. The first stepping stone is the planning – we all agree with that.



The October Prattler asked questions and suggested positive courses of action regarding a proposed stock effluent facility to be located at the Northern Gateway to Putaruru. 

In order to provide the most up to date information about this proposal The Prattler asked Isy Kennedy, Policy Advisor for the Waikato Regional Council, to outline the current state of this scheme. The Prattler thanks Isy for her reply, which is printed here in complete and unedited form.

“Stock truck effluent continues to be spilled on Waikato roads presenting road safety, environmental and health risks. To help address these risks, Waikato Regional Council has a stock truck effluent strategy that identifies a number of potential sites in the region to establish disposal facilities. Also, establishing a wider network of disposal facilities will help enhance NZ’s clean and green image.
I can confirm that Waikato Regional Council continues to undertake high level investigations on potential sites in the South Waikato District for a number of possible options for a stock truck effluent disposal facility, including near Putaruru. This area is identified as a priority area in  the Regional Stock Truck effluent Strategy (which is available on WRC website). But I would stress that these are just ideas at present, nothing is set in stone and we will listen closely to the community’s wishes as we move forward. This current  investigation work is being done in consultation with NZTA, South Waikato District Council and the Road Transport Association. Another thing I can confirm is that Waikato Regional Council is not considering cutting down 90 year old trees. A further clarification is that a 50 kph speed zone referenced in your article is actually 100kph speed zone.
Basically we are still very much in the investigations stage and no formal proposals have been developed to the point where we can discuss them with the local community. But Putaruru residents – and residents of other areas in South Waikato District where we might look at establishing a site – can be assured that before any proposal went ahead we would discuss ideas with the district council, NZTA, residents and others. 
All views and issues raised, including those referred to in your article, would  be considered in detail before a final decision was made on site selection.”

[Isy Kennedy – Policy Advisor, Waikato Regional Council.]


What Are Positive Things We Can Do About Rethinking the Proposed Stock Effluent Dumping Site?

  • ask for the list of authentic effluent dumping sites that were researched for this project so considered discussion can take place about each of them
  • ask to see the research on any sites in New Zealand that have been built on a major highway and at the 50kph city gateway and the effect this has had on the perception and daily lives of the community
  • remind the relevant decision makers that if Transit owns a piece of land that there is no logical connection between owning it and using it for effluent purposes – because it is the owner doesn’t mean that it ought to be used this way

By taking steps such as these, we will then be in a position to have considered discussions. Knowledge is power, so they say, but it seems that in relation to this affair, the interested local community has been given no open public information.

If this is the case, then in terms of the Regional Stock Truck Effluent Strategy for the Waikato Region, no reasonable public discussion has taken place – and this is against their own stated policy – a case of paper not people.

Until this happens, it can be reasonably argued that because all aspects of their own document have not been followed, there can be no good reason for the project to proceed.


It may happen!

Currently the Regional Stock Truck Effluent Strategy for the Waikato Region, is proposing to construct an in-transit stock truck effluent disposal system right on the 50kph Northern entrance to Putaruru.

Its criteria for the selection of a site are, (in brief):

Protection: “must have regard to the protection of entry points into the region, township and problem areas…”

Location: Location of potential sites must be selected with regard to the main stock trucking routes.

Cost: Affected by whether land has to be acquired or whether current ownership is with local authorities or the NZ Transport Agency.

Planning Requirements: This will require land use consents from the district council.

Funding: Undertaken  in accordance with the NZ Transport Agency’s Planning, Programming and Funding Manual, 2008.

It is clear from these criteria that one major criteria has been disregarded – people living in the area. By neglecting this human factor, the otherwise reasonable intention of protecting roads from effluent spills, results in a strategy that deliberately ignores a major issue. By doing this the whole document looses validity and credibility.

Welcome to Pootaruru!

Putaruru Entrance with Poo Sign

That may be the legacy of this effluent disposal system on our Northern gateway.

It seems as if no other town or city in New Zealand has a stock truck effluent disposal system right on its 50kph entrance.

But there is hope!

There is a at least one line of argument that can be followed that comes from the Regional Stock Truck Effluent Strategy for the Waikato Region document itself. Discount this and you have to discount the whole document! Page 52 states:

“potential sites… must have regard to the protection of entry points into the region, township and problem areas…”

At the moment it can be clearly seen that there has been “no regard” in relation to siting such a system at the Northern gateway to Putaruru.

Other considerations include:

  • the proposed site is the Northern gateway to Putaruru (the start of the 50kph zone)
  • a gateway defines who we are – Putaruru is not the effluent icon of New Zealand
  • local waterways are already under threat – are we happy about the implications for the nearby waterway?
  • this scheme undermines the positive Te Waihou experience
  • businesses, a large school, residential housing and a waterway are in close proximity
  • the intended installation does not address the Waikato Community Outcomes stated in the Regional Stock Truck Effluent Strategy for the Waikato Region especially to build “strong informed communities.”
  • what other potential sites were identified – if there was research, where is it?

Disposal location

Information about this specific proposal is conspicuously lacking. As a positive community we deserve better.

Views of a Local Farmer

Local farmer, Phillip White made this considered statement… “It was with interest that I read the story about enhancing the entrance ways along the highways to Putaruru. This initiative is well due. We sit on the junction of major highways, closely linked with major centres. We enjoy easy access to the best beaches and lakes. We sit alongside some of New Zealand’s most beautiful rural countryside. Our traditional strengths in dairy, forestry, water and the current growth in tourism means that we need to make a statement as to what the town and district is all about. We need to make a positive impression that this is a place to visit and a place to stay awhile rather then somewhere to pass through. I welcome the efforts being made by Pride in Putaruru to make the town a more attractive place.

Unfortunately Environment Waikato, The South Waikato District Council and Transit NZ have a different view of the town and its surrounds. On one of the sites identified by Pride in Putaruru as a gateway to the town being State Highway 1 and the intersection of Whites Road the local regional government along with Transit NZ have decided to build a stock effluent dump. That should give the town a pretty clear indication of what SWDC thinks of Putaruru. This is the same group who decided to put a toilet block in the Garden of memories. The land in question is currently farmed as part of our property. It is road reserve effectively owned by Transit.

The initial view was to site the dump on White’s Road. This would have involved cutting down 90 year old trees. To me this was an act of environmental vandalism. It is amazing how many tourist vehicles stop along that part of the road to take photos especially if there is stock in the paddocks. The other choice was to be closer to the corner of White’s Road and SH1 which would be pretty much where any planned entranceway enhancement would be done.

To make it clear we do not own the land. The relevant authorities can do what they like. Their consultation with me has been minimal. Their message was delivered as a fait accompli. I don’t believe they have consulted with other neighbouring businesses or property owners and obviously the SWDC has not consulted its Putaruru Community.

Having viewed the SWDC effluent dump on the Mamaku Rotorua Road you could pretty much describe it as a rubbish tip. Rubbish is everywhere and it is a part time camping ground and not attractive at all. The authorities have assured me this won’t be the case with the SH1 White’s Road site – Yeah right! Once the site is built the SWDC becomes responsible for the effluent removal. I was told this could potentially go into the town treatment plant.  They don’t know what it will cost ratepayers. They don’t know the volumes they will be dealing with.

We are aware that stock effluent is an issue for all of us on roadways and there is a cost associated with this. While I don’t want to sound like a nimby (not in my backyard), I really believe other options could be explored to minimise the visual and environmental effect. I have been told that this is the easiest site that they have explored as they own the land and have direct access to SH1.

Most of my dealings have been with the bureaucrats who appear to have no connection with the town and no sense of community. They don’t live or work in our community. Any conversations with the elected Councillors have been to tell me ‘tough luck.’ The decision has been made. It’s not our responsibility.”


These are the reference pages for schools, families, individuals or groups wishing to contribute ideas about how new Putaruru gateways might look. This activity has been approved as a PRIDE project for schools.

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Full size versions of the gateway images can be downloaded here.

Click on the image to download it.

Existing Gateway SignGateway Sign Removed


This is the framework for the submission to Council regarding the allocation of funds from the special funding scheme. This process has taken place.

Unfortunately this funding submission to the South Waikato District Council was declined. This outcome means that future Putaruru Development strategies will be advertised as they come to hand…

Create an interactive icon and associated materials that represents/reflects Putaruru
Overall makeover of the Putaruru commercial areas
Enhancing community and visitor engagement with Putaruru
Promote Putaruru’s prime natural resource
• physically
• commercially
• culturally
• through the arts
Continue and extend existing use of The Prattler, and Pride in Putaruru Website and other appropriate media



In middle March, 2014, an open meeting, hosted by Pride in Putaruru, was held at the Plaza Theatre, to explore ideas that would enhance Putaruru. The aim was to build constructive, positive suggestions that would neither be ‘debated’ on the night, nor have cost restraint barriers. “Stimulating creativity,” was the goal that Lee Robertson, (Pride in Putaruru Manager), and Stu Edmeades (Pride in Putaruru Chairman), were looking for. To assist this process, no ideas were to be evaluated during the evening, all contributions were to be positive and cost was not to be an issue.

The general organising question was, “How can we attract people to live in Putaruru?”

Those attending recorded their ideas onto post-it notes during a 15 minute, non-discussion, gathering session. A number had gathered thoughts and community opinion prior to the night. There were a large number of notes written, which were then arranged into groups that reflected similar themes or ideas. These categories continued to be refined as appropriate headings were created for the various idea clusters. Some of the broad categories that emerged on the night were: branding, young people, shopping and water.

People then allocated a tick to those ideas they though were the most significant. No suggestions were discarded.

At the end of the meeting, a small group of people volunteered to continue working with the data, and feed back to the community. The work of previous community discussions, (such as those led by Peter Kenyon from the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, Australia) will also feed into this process.

The Pride in Putaruru website, prideinputaruru.com and The Prattler will report on how this initiative is progressing.

Speeches written by John Keith and Brittany King that present their views of life in Putaruru as a young person and the role of Putaruru College.

Pride in Putaruru thanks the students and the school for giving their permission to make these speeches available.
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