Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Recently the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trustees advertised for expressions of interest
from people who might want to join them in the creation of New Zealand’s first geopark.
Trust Chairman and Waitaki Mayor, Gary Kircher says, “We have chosen a group of people
with a wide range of life experiences who will bring their skills to the fledgling organisation.
The Trust is now at full strength and keen to get on with the challenges ahead.”
Trustee Mike Gray said, “There were many enquiries, from as far afield as Auckland. It was
really heartening to know that there are people out there who aspire to the Geopark
principles and are prepared to work hard to help establish New Zealand’s first geopark here
in the Waitaki.”
So without further ado, here they are: joining the Trust legendary steampunk originator Helen Jansen, who is still sometimes seen in steampunk attire.
Gerald Carter hails from Tai Tapu near Christchurch and he has long recognised the assets of our district. Most recently his design firm was instrumental in the redevelopment of the ‘Poshtel’ in Thames Street. “Hopefully his ‘outsider perspective’ will help the rest of us keep our feet on the ground,” says Mike.
Finally, Melanie Jones joins us, also a newcomer to our town. She has a wealth of experience in governance and marketing in the beverage industry and has recently joined the team at Tourism Waitaki.
All trustees are unpaid and volunteer their time towards the Geopark project. The new trustees joined the geopark just in time to witness the successful workshopping of the Whitestone geogastronomy initiative, bringing together food and beverage producers
and sellers from all over the district to work out how to drive value from the geopark banner.
The Trustees first job was to attend a 2-day induction session around the Geopark, where they got to know each other in order to form a tight team, before turning their attention to the re-submission of an updated application to UNESCO and the wider involvement of the community in Geopark activity and development.