Ideas for how to encourage travellers to include Raetihi in their journey plans following the large slip that has closed SH4 just south of the township was the topic of a community hui coordinated by Ruapehu District Council this week.
Economic and Destination Development Manager Warren Furner with Visit Ruapehu GM Jo Kennedy and Marketing Manager Sarah Alexander met with local businesses, community groups, residents and Iwi to discuss and prioritise a range of ideas and actions for maintaining Raetihi’s economy.
Mr Furner said that despite the seriousness of the situation the meeting was incredibly positive with a lot of excellent, practical ideas proposed.
“It was great to see how quickly the community has responded,” he said.
“There has been a lot of thinking and great work done already with some of the ideas supported by fully developed proposals.
These included promotional material and signage to ensure people are aware of what’s available in Raetihi, targeted promotion at visitors with suitable vehicles to travel south via the amazingly scenic Whanganui River Rd as an alternative to SH1, and a new Raetihi township website.
Other actions include Visit Ruapehu talking to businesses next week about their digital profile and getting them on VisitRuapehu.com and Raetihi Promotions coordinating the next community led steps.”
One of the key things the community wants immediate action on is the removal of all NZTA temporary warning signage that may give people the wrong impression about whether they can travel via Raetihi.
Over the next week or so the plan is to install or repurpose existing Visit Ruapehu billboards at all the key State Highway junctions combining ‘promotional hero images’ with ‘open for business’ and ‘road safety’ messaging.
The proposals for the signage will be going to NZTA via local iwi.”
Mr Furner said that NZTA’s support and commitment to working closely with Council and the community has been invaluable.
They have been doing a great job of keeping everyone well informed and have done everything we have asked of them.
While the community takes some comfort from knowing NZTA has committed to reinstating SH4 as soon as possible they also know that may not be for some time.