In our Shop Local article series, we talk to retailers, town centre managers and passionate people about what makes their local area unique and how they’re spreading the word within and beyond their community.
Storbie spoke to Wendy Dunn, Manager at Manurewa Business Association, about creating a vibrant community.
Manurewa is a major suburb in South Auckland and one of the most multi-cultural suburbs in New Zealand. The Manurewa Business Association aims to promote the well-being and vitality of the Manurewa town centre to create vibrancy and offer a diverse shopping experience in a safe and secure environment.
Creating a Vibrant and Connected Community
The Manurewa Business Association engages in numerous community-focused events to create a fun and vibrant environment. This engages the people of the community and brings them into the town centre, which leads to better business.
Many of these events focus on linking students from AUT and the wider community to not-for-profit community groups in the area.
Town Centre Ambassadors
Ambassadors are a big part of the Manurewa community. The Association works with WINZ and six new ambassadors are trained every six months in customer service and other essential skills. The skilled and informative ambassadors are helpful to those in the town centre, both shoppers and retailers alike, and can report environment issues that need attendance to create the best shopping experience the town centre can offer. The programme enjoys a 90% reemployment rate.
Held annually in October, this is a free community event where local volunteer organisations are able to promote their clubs and organisations. The main focus is wellbeing of the people who live and work in the community. Stalls include family health, medical, education, fitness, clubs (among other community fields), and also includes local things to do and places to visit, such as the local Manurewa Botanical Gardens. 80-90 stalls are present and up to 5,000 people visit the expo.
Santa Parade and Norfolk Pine Christmas Tree
The Manurewa town centre Santa Parade is well supported by the community and gathers 15,000 people together each year. The town’s unmissable Norfolk Pine Christmas tree outside Southmall is also a popular attraction – lit up with ever-changing light sequences each year since 1950. The tree was even named as the best Christmas tree in the NZ Herald’s ’20 best things of Auckland life’!
There are a number of Facebook pages that help connect the Manurewa community and inform people about events and programmes that they can be involved in.