Feed and Fund Round Two

Fab Feathy and the Featherston Communtiy Centre joined forces to run our second Feed and Fund event, and it was such a great evening. There were some marvellous pitches, so in case you missed it (or you want reminding), read on to find out more!

Featherston Community Garden

Pitched by Tanja Schubert-McArthur and Amanda Bradley

What’s your project?

Imagine it’s the year 2028, you walk along Fitzherbert Street to get your Friday takeaways, but when you walk past St Andrews you hear chatter and laughter and decide to check it out. As you walk around to the back of the church you stumble upon a secret garden you didn’t know existed: veggies in raised beds grow happily next to sunflowers, tamariki play with caterpillars on the swan plants and a group of people of all ages husk corn while having a yarn. Someone comes over to greet you and offers you a slice of apple pie made from the fruits harvested. You ditch the takeaways and take a seat at the picnic table. 

The plot – soon to become a hive of activity!

Welcome to the community garden! Nau mai, haere mai ki te mārā o Paetūmōkai! This is a community garden that is open to everyone who wants to learn about growing their own food and we will run workshops to teach people skills. This garden can fill our community pantry and connect people!

How will this/does this benefit the Featherston Community? 

Research shows the many benefits of communities gardening, beyond just harvesting a bunch of kale that might be healthy to eat and providing the community with food security.

Spending time connected to nature can improve our mental wellbeing. People who participate in community gardens are more hopeful, positive, energised, and optimistic about the future. They have improved levels of attention, life satisfaction and self-esteem. 

We want our garden to be a place of belonging where we can grow social capital, where we can support others and build new relationships. 

We are an informal group which formed last year after St Andrew’s Church offered their back yard to Fab Feathy as a potential space for a community garden. The group have had several meetings and one workshop planting daffodils at the garden site. The goal is to build a community garden that will grow food for the community, share skills and resources. With outcomes of community wellbeing, social capital, and improved food security. 

How do people contact your group/how do they get involved?

Do you want to learn some new ideas and tricks for your own backyard?
Do you have a green thumb and want to pass on your skills?
Why not join our motivated group of gardeners and wannabe gardeners who are keen to get their hands dirty? All ages welcome!

Join us on Facebook: “Featherston Community Garden Planning”.

Or come to our workshop preparing a bed for planting kumara on Matariki July 14th (check the Facebook page for details).

Wairarapa Moana Trail

Pitched by Geoff Thurston

What’s your project?

Wairarapa Moana is a precious local Taonga of historical, ecological, cultural and community importance. A group of Featherston residents got together when they found that they were all interested in getting a cycle trail running from Featherston to Wairarapa Moana. The vast majority of feedback received from the community when it has been sought, has been very positive.

In conjuction with Fab Feathy a feasability study was carried out that investigated a number of routes that could be taken. The route chosen was a combination of state highway,  paper road and rail corridor, and will link in with Pae Tu Mokai o Tauira Te Whare Whakapapa at its midpoint. The trail forms a part of the Five Towns Trail and Remutaka Great Ride. It also gives rise to other short rides of interest that could be added at a later stage.

Proposed trail

How will this/does this benefit the Featherston Community? 

It is estimated that there would be over 10,000 users in the first year of trail operation. It is also estimated that for every dollar invested in its construction the trail would return four dollars to the region. The benefits to the local and regional communities make the proposed trail a good investment for potential funders.

How do people contact your group/how do they get involved?

A Moana Trail Trust has been formed to guide this project through, but as time has gone on and for a variety of reasons some members have moved on. We are needing replacements who share our enthusiasm for this vision. Interested people can get in touch with us via the good folk at Fab Feathy.

Featherston Beautification Group

Pitched by Julia Reed

What’s your project?

Our group tries to have multiple projects on the go, currently the big one is to get our entrance ways back on the outskirts of town and complete our 3rd one. As we request funds from other areas and need to show we are also proactive in our own fund raising, which we do with our annual calendar and our community picking garden and sales Nursery.  For our garden we are looking to fund a picnic table to enhance this area and make it a place people can sit and enjoy our Fridge  library at  No 2 Bell St . 

How will this/does this benefit the Featherston Community? 

The funds we raise go towards our beautifying Featherston main Streets and parks.  Which we hope bring a smile and a pride to those passing through and who choose to live in Featherston. 

How do people contact your group/how do they get involved?

The best way to contact us is email Featherston.b.g@gmail.com, we do have a fb page FBG Featherston beautification group

Youth Hub – Wairarapa Whanau Trust

Pitched by Tahlia Steedman, Naliyah Namana and Taizak Walker

What’s your project?

A Youth Hub on the main street of Featherston – based at Common Ground.

How will this/does this benefit the Featherston Community? 

Young people have skills and gifts but often needs a platform for that wisdom to be heard. This will be a space down the main street where they can discover their talents and gifts, and where there’ll be regular workshops and activities.

How do people contact your group/how do they get involved?

Contact Tahlia Steedman at tahlia@wairarapawhanautrust.com

Feed and Fund Round 2: FAQs

We’re excited to announce that Feed and Fund is back for Round Two!

Wednesday 10th May, 6.30 – 8.30 pm at the Featherston Community Centre.

What is Feed and Fund?

It’s a community micro-funding event, where a $10 entry fee (gold coin for tamariki under 16) gets you your supper and a vote. Spend the evening listening to pitches, chatting with your community and voting for your favourite project. The winner takes home all the money in the kitty to help make their project a reality!

Why should you get your community group involved?

We’re seeking 4-6 community groups or projects to pitch at this event. The winner of the first event (Featherston Athletics) took away $451.10 to go towards their project, but all of the pitches were able to showcase their mahi to a group of 50+ local community members. Great publicity and a chance for some great conversations!

How do we get involved? (Community group)

If you would like your group to pitch at the event, please fill out this form. To give your project the highest chance of success, ensure that it is providing a genuine benefit to the Featherston Community and that you are excited about it! 

See the document below for our top tips on creating a perfect pitch!

How do we get involved? (Community member)

Please come along to the event, and engage with our wonderful groups! Ask them questions, learn about the good mahi happening here in Featherston and meet others in your community. The soup is delicious, and so is the company!

Entry is $10 per person (under 16s are gold coin) and this entry fee gets you your supper and a vote. All entry fees go straight into the winners kitty.

Wednesday 10th May, 6.30 – 8.30 pm at the Featherston Community Centre.

Four images showing a variety of different angles of the Feed & Fund 2022 pitchers, MC Mark Shepherd, curious audience members, and eventual winners Featherston Athletics Club.
Clockwise from top-left: 1. Amanda Cuff pitches for the Mini Fell; 2. Attendees were eager to probe and question each pitch; 3. Mark Shepherd reminding us all to work together at a grassroots level; 4. Winners are grinners – the victorious athletics club with deputy mayor Melissa Sadler-Futter.

Fab Feathy 2023

We’re thrilled to be able to announce that we have received funding for a ‘transitional’ year, so Fab Feathy will still be around in 2023! This is different than our current partnership with the DIA (which ends at the beginning of Feb 23), and will involve only one facilitator, and some slightly changed priorities.

We will be focusing on closing some of the big projects we have underway (such as an ongoing bicultural and bilingual project) and capturing learnings from our CLD experience that will benefit not only our community, but other CLD’s around the country. We will also be developing options to continue Fab Feathy beyond the transitional year (watch this space!).

We’ll be doing all this while continuing to support our community. On that – our practical support to the community will look a little different next year. With some lofty goals and less facilitators, we’ll be trying to do more with less. That might mean we’re a little less available than in the past, but rest assured, we’re still here and working for Featherston!

Our 2023 priorities:

  1. Closing Projects Well. This workstream is focused on wrapping up incomplete projects.
  2. Capturing Fab Feathy’s Mahi. This workstream is focused on documenting and sharing Fab Feathy’s experience during the partnership so that community-led development (CLD) can continue to flourish in Featherston, and other CLD’s can benefit from Fab Feathy’s experiences.
  3. Designing and Implementing the Future Fab Feathy. This workstream is focused on designing and implementing a model that enables Fab Feathy to continue beyond the transitional year.
  4. Continuing to Add Value to Featherston. This workstream is focused on continuing to deliver the value that is outlined in our value propositions (e.g., creating connections, reinforcing community) and supporting Featherston to achieve the aspirations captured in the 2017 Future Featherston Plan and 2022 Community Survey.
Our community vision from 2017

Windy Wheels Bike Track at Featherston School

A group of passionate locals have been working on community bike tracks, based on the Bikes In Schools model. This is on land gifted to the project by Featherston School – Te Kura o Pae Tū Mōkai. 

This project fit in perfectly with the community led development principles, and so was a great project for Fab Feathy to support. We were able to source significant funding for this project via the DIA CLD fund, which has paid for the installation of two bike tracks and a container to store and work on bikes for the community. The group have also sourced funding elsewhere to keep this project sustainable.

The initial riding track was opened in March 2021, with the school reporting that the tamariki use the track regularly on the breaks.

The opening of the first bike track in March 2021

The group have worked with the tamariki, visiting local bike tracks and working out what they think will work well for the Windy Wheels track. The tamariki presented their findings and ideas to the working group at the end of 2021.

A selection of awesome ideas from the tamariki

The skills track was opened on 19th September 2022, with a series of ‘pedal for your parakuihi’ events, with all community members welcome to test out their skills.

Opening event for the Skills Track, Sept 2022

Who participated/benefitted?

The working group for the Windy Wheels bike track is made up of local volunteers, who are passionate about our local tamariki having access to bikes and skills. A group of students from the kura helped the group to research other bike tracks in the area, and designed their own bike track.

The group have partnered with another local group, Ā Mua resource centre, to run bike repair workshops and drop in events. These regular events upskill our community in bike maintenance, and also fix up bikes that were heading for landfill – gifting them to our community.

Saturday afternoon workshop

The local Menzshed have also worked on this project, helping with the building of the obstacles for the skills track.

All members of the community have been welcomed onto the bike tracks, including the two other schools and local early childhood centres.

Awesome working bee vollies ahead of the skills track opening – Aug 2022

Two high-quality bike tracks have been created for our community, as well as a container workshop/storage area. The space is welcoming and friendly, with planting and benches available for those who need a rest after so much biking!

The skills track and rest area

Working bees and opening events have provided opportunities for the community to reconnect and spend time with each other now that covid restrictions are a thing of the past.

Access to the bike library has meant all of our community are able to access bikes and increase their skills, and the regular workshops the group are holding means that bike repair skills are being passed around our whole town.

This group have overcome so many challenges over the period of this project, with many covid-related cancellations, shortage of supplies and contractors. What they have created is a fantastic amenity for our community, and with the cost of living increasing pressures on family transportation, more bikes in our community is hugely beneficial.

Opening day of the skills track – lots of fun

Fab Feathy Survey Results 2022

In May 2022, fifty-three members of the Featherston community completed a survey run by Fab Feathy. The survey aimed to give Fab Feathy a sense of what was working well in the community, and what should come next.

Analysis of the responses identified twelve key themes. The first set of themes captured what is great about living in Featherston. It seems that the people, the groups, and the community set Featherston apart. To top it off, it is close enough to Wellington to reap the benefits of urban living, but far enough away to stay connected with nature. It is also small enough to maintain a small-town feel.

The second set of themes captures what is working well in Featherston. Community groups, community-led facilities, and community activities are a real strength. This is no surprise given how frequently community members spoke of Featherston’s helpful and supportive community. Local news and events also appear well communicated, and there is a sense that retail and hospitality is a boon for the town.

The final set of themes captures what would make Featherston an even better place to live. Infrastructure, amenities, and services top the list, with people wanting to see improvements in the likes of water, electricity, footpaths, green spaces, and public transport. These desires were closely followed by hopes that both the look and function of the main street could be improved. There were many ideas about how this could be done, but the general sense was that the main strip needs to be tidied up, and that spaces need to be better utilised. In addition to these two major themes, respondents also wanted better collaboration with the council and the other South Wairarapa towns, and to see even more activities run in Featherston.

To close the survey, residents were asked what Fab Feathy should do next. For those that answered this question from the perspective of “should Fab Feathy continue?” the mandate is clear: Fab Feathy’s mahi should continue. Others in the community answered this question from the perspective of “what actions should Fab Feathy pursue?”. These ideas are summarised in Table 5 at the end of the full report.

Though the future of Fab Feathy is not yet decided, the feedback provided by the community provides plenty of direction; both for Fab Feathy’s next ten months, as well as if its mahi continues beyond 2023.

If you would like to find out more about our mahi, feel free to call into the Community Centre to say hello, email us, or keep an eye out for our monthly column in the Featherston Phoenix and our updates on Facebook!

To read the full report on our survey findings, see below:

UPDATE: Wairarapa Moana Trail Feasibility Report

A few years ago, some locals formed Wairarapa Moana Trail Trust (WMTT) to learn more about an oft-requested need: greater connection between the Featherston people and the whenua – particularly in terms of getting down to Wairarapa Moana (and back again in one piece). 

After successful fundraising rounds, research, and reaching out through events such as Featherston Expos; Whakarongo ki te Taiao; Mysteries of the Moana; Featherston Christmas Parade; Paetūmõkai Featherston School bike track launch etc., WMTT were awarded funding to contract an engineering feasibility study from Rowan Sapsford at ROAM that investigates the feasibility of a route between Featherston and Wairarapa Moana Lake Domain; plus, a cost-benefit analysis. 

Following much outreach and on-site consultation, a 7.24km best-option route was determined (see: Fig. 1). This route is broken into five separate segments:

Proposed Trail
  1. An on-road route from Featherston Information Centre to the rail corridor at the eastern end of Woodward Street East
  2. An off-road trail on the south eastern side of the rail line within the Rail Corridor, including a bridge over the Otauira Stream
  3. A roadside trail (off-road) on the grass verge of Western Lake, Viles and North Soldiers Settlement roads. The southern extent of this section will connect with Pae tū Mōkai o Tauira Te Whare Whakapapa Raranga (formerly the Golf Course)
  4. An off-road section using Council land and paper roads from Pae tū Mōkai o Tauira to Soldiers Settlement Road, including a bridge over the Otauira Stream
  5. A roadside trail (off-road) on the grass verge of Soldiers Settlement Road to the Wairarapa Moana Domain. 

Construction is calculated at $1.2 million to meet a grade 2 spec. Annual maintenance is estimated to be ~$12,000 per year.

However, Wairarapa Moana is a taonga, and a place of local cultural, ecological, and historical significance. Many locals and visitors wish to connect with Wairarapa Moana more, and to preserve the environment for inanga, kākahi, and other rare species. We don’t need to tell you that Wairarapa Moana is worth a million bucks.

Well, actually, it’s more like five million bucks: The Benefit:Cost ratio for the trail is between 4.1 & 4.9 (Regional & National level, respectively). This is very strong, and estimates net economic benefits (NPV) of ~$4.1 to $5 million (at a Regional & National Level) every year.

Only a handful of these users are commuters; instead, hundreds of local single-day users meet thousands of out-of-region and international users to enjoy the Wairarapa valleys, lakes, and mountains. This represents a significant catchment for a local, boutique tourism and hospitality sector to service cyclists and walkers visiting Featherston for the heritage or the hermitage.

Make sure you have a read of ROAM Consulting’s full Feasibility Report below:

To get in touch with WMTT, write to them at: moanatrail@gmail.com