Kapiti Community - Project coordinators for the launch of the digital platform Paekakariki.nz
Facing bypass by the new major Transmission Gully road, due to open north of Wellington next year, the small village of Paekākāriki on the Kapiti Coast is taking its future into its own hands.
Known for its independent community spirit, at the end of this month the village (population 1600) launches its own digital platform, paekākāriki.nz, a website dubbed "your pocket universe" which has been developed by and funded entirely by locals. The launch will indeed feature a rocket, complete with rocket tower and accompanying pyrotechnics at Paekākāriki Beach at sunset. Its a community celebration with a bonfire and a local bottle rocket competition, beginning at 3pm.
"Fifty years ago the Americans landed people on the moon," says one of the project coordinators Mark Amery. "We have likewise spent several years with much people-power to develop an audacious launch into cyberspace. Community led digital initiatives are a key part of a resilient future."
Paekākāriki.nz follows the establishment of other recent community initiatives in the village like the Paekākāriki Housing Trust, a radio station and the Wainuiwhenua group, who are advocating for community and urgent environmental needs through the buy-back of the remainder land to the east of the village, when work on the Gully road is completed.
Known also for its sense of humour and its community parties, the village already made headlines earlier this year opening the 'Paekākāriki Old Whatsisname Library' which boasts seating for one, book-lined walls and solar-powered lights. In recent years it has also established annually the world's "shortest Gay Pride Parade'.
Once a major coach and train changing spot, for the first time in its history from 2020 Paekākāriki will no longer be a staging post on the main route north. Increasingly instead the village with its beach, major parks, train connection to Wellington and the opening of the popular Escarpment walk to the south and a cycleway to the north with increased parklands, is a recreational destination that is seeing increased visitor numbers. Its community-owned local hall St Peter's has also become a popular touring destination for musicians and their fans alike.