Matakohe gets a makeover

From the left: Pat George from Moewaka Studio; Jacqui Busca, Matakohe House; John and Anne Ecuyer from Gallery 28; Elaine Gillespie, Gumdiggers and Fired Earth Petting Farm, and Vanessa Murch, Matakohe Holiday Park.

Local Matakohe business owners have come together to more intensively market the area and encourage more visitors to a variety of attractions as well as the international icon, The Kauri Museum.

Elaine Gillespie from the Gumdiggers Cafe and Fired Earth Petting Farm, with Vanessa Murch from Matakohe Holiday Park, and The Kauri Museum CEO, Lisa Tolich have been the drivers behind the idea that has been eight months in the making.

Ms Tolich says she is right behind the move to put more local attractions “on the map.

“I have recently returned from the Trenz travel trade event where ‘clustering’ of attractions was discussed. From my perspective it is great to see greater depth being achieved in Matakohe and growth developing as a result of businesses co-operating together.”

Elaine Gillespie says the aim was to “put something together that will work for everybody — make Matakohe a destination, and expand on the attractions so it can be a full weekend spent here.” As a result, marketing plans have started with a postcard map of local attractions.

“We came up with a concept and put the idea out, and started looking for an artist. Vanessa recommended Bonnie Fraser a family friend, who is also an artist in her own right. We have worked closely with Bonnie to get it just right, something that represents all of us in the area and now we have something we are all really proud of.

“There’s a whole lot of us that are new to the area and we needed to have a marketing tool that will draw people to Matakohe,” said Elaine. The map is currently in a postcard format, with information on each place on the back.

Each of the premises has the postcards displayed and visitors can take them away. So far Elaine says visitors “think they are great and many have wanted to pay for them.

“Now that we’ve got the official marketing we can put these in information sites and get it out there.

The target is to have them out and about for next season which starts in late September through till just after Easter.” The next step is “working on a logo and we will look at branding in the near future,” says Elaine. There are also plans to create more of an online presence.

It’s “extremely important to have an online presence nowadays — people expect immediate access and visuals and want to make decisions straight away which is why most of the group have their own websites that can be managed individually.” 

“We are really happy with the outcome. The postcard as a whole really depicts the area and ourselves, as we all seem to be a bit quirky in our own way.”


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