At 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday 14th of September 2019, the Otangarei Community came together to clean up the Otangarei Central Reserve and surrounding areas as a part of the G.J. Gardner Homes Clean-Up Week, in association with Keep New Zealand Beautiful. The Otangarei Neighourhood Safety Panel (ONSP) drove this event with the support of the community and local businesses including the Whangarei District Council, Housing New Zealand, Police, Creative Northland, People Potential, Mumzy’s Schnitzelhaus Takeaways, Countdown, Soil n Sand, Karlene & Ben Livingstone, Chris & Tony Goyen, Kahui, Jack St Fish n Chips, Otangarei Superette, Jack St Superette, Food Rescue and more!
The ONSP was founded in 2013 by the minister of Police who invited relevant members of the community to join. At this time there was only 8% of the Whangarei population residing in Otangarei but committing 80% of the crimes occurring. The ONSP has since worked entirely on a voluntary basis for the love of the community, striving to change these statistics and show that “Otangarei is a unique community with many flavours” as stated by Karlene Joyce-Livingstone, ONSP Chairperson.
When the ONSP was first established, they focused on creating a safe and secure neighbourhood through the partnership between NZ Police and the local community, achieving this by holding regular meetings, assisting the NZ Police to determine operational priorities, development of strategies and objectives, and fostering community support for priority policing activities through communication channels with the local neighbourhood.
The ONSP has since had a huge impact on the community and has changed its focus to prioritising reducing crime through Environmental Design and making Otangarei a Clean, Green Place to live.
ONSP Secretary Christine Goyen says that “With the high percentage of Maori living in Otangarei and the community Marae available, this is the perfect place and a great opportunity for showcasing Maori culture, arts and heritage as well as providing a place for local activities and advice services to be hosted.”
Creative Northland’s Marketing & Event Coordinator, Briar Fabian says “We are delighted to be supporting this event and the Otangarei Neighbourhood Safety Panel. We see this is a step towards future creative endeavours with the Otangarei community, with a focus on getting youth involved in artistic projects. We will be helping at the event and would love to hear your ideas”.