It’s hard to believe that Christmas is yet again upon us, it feels like not so long ago that we celebrated the start of 2020. Who was to know what the year would have in store for us then!
Thankfully we are on the downhill stretch. On 25 November 2020, I took the oath for the 5th time in NZ Parliament and it was as momentous for me on the day as it was the first time I did it. I am looking forward to a busy next parliamentary term ahead and I'll update more on my plans in my next newsletters but for now, hopefully, you are counting down the days for some much-needed R&Rs, like me.
Click here to watch my Christmas Message.
Awards and ceremonies
While the year is slowly coming to a close, activities in the electorate are still in full swing if the past few weeks are anything to go by. I love this time of the year when I get to join in on celebrations, awards and festivities as seeing people succeed and happy, makes me happy.
I recently attended the Cambridge Fire Brigade and The Taupo and Lake Taupo Brigade Awards events and felt incredibly honoured to be at the New Zealand Police Taupo Area Awards too.
At these awards we recognised our finest Fire and Police Officers and high achievers. They acknowledge our officers' contributions and commitment to our community and they deserve all the praise and thanks lavished on them for their efforts. I was especially proud of Chief Fire Officer Don Gerrand’s 52 years award, that is commitment for you. Well done to all!
Spending time with our children is always special, and this year's Duffy in Homes Books awards at Mangakino School were no different. Reading is such a vital skill for our children and we should do all we can to encourage and support them.
Out and about
A warm welcome to new businesses across the electorate! There are so many but to name a few in Cambridge: Meraki Agora, a new retail store that gives local creators a platform to showcase their products and talent; Green with Envy, in the old Stihl Shop at 42 Victoria Street; Olio Design that has a new showroom at 55 Victoria Street and Odell X Home, on 41A Victoria Street selling fine wares.
We wish all our businesses the very best of success especially during the festive season, and I look forward to popping in if I have not yet already.
I recently visited Impact Hub's new space in Tokoroa, aptly named "Our Space". The local artists' wares are very exciting, who could resist these fabulous pair of earrings?
At the Carol Hughes - Visual Artist art exhibition I left with some lovely art coasters for my new office in Parliament and an awesome vase made by local potter Jo Beckett.
A lovely artisan shop Mākete mahi toi, Putāruru has opened also in Putāruru. Well worth a visit and good on Putāruru Ward Councillor Sandra Wallace and the South Waikato District Council for showing initiative to support local artisans and our community in the lead up to Christmas.
Loved my visit to Russell Ensor and the team at the South Waikato Achievement Trust Centre, one of the biggest employers in the South Waikato. I thoroughly enjoyed the on-the-spot training in the kindling production line! Useful to see the recycling side of the business too. This is such an amazing organisation with amazing people.
Finally, I loved Diwali Celebrations in Taupo! An unforgettable evening and I look forward to next year's event.
I donned my heels for the Walk in her Shoes Violence Free Waipa White Ribbon Campaign, a fabulous turnout for a fantastic cause.
While not so glamorous, but equally important is supporting our local schools like Tauhara College who is facing a long road ahead following the extensive damage to classrooms after a serious adverse weather event. The rebuild of this school’s aging buildings is long overdue and the Ministry of Education must act urgently.
I intend to strongly push this matter over the coming days and weeks. Our children deserve to come back to school in January in fit for purpose buildings, even if temporary until the Ministry can get on with the business of the needed upgrade of the school.
Clinics will take place in February for those who need an appointment. Our Friendly Forums will also restart in the new year:
- Cambridge - 12 March 2021, 10am the Cambridge Health and Community Centre, 22a Taylor Street.
- Taupo - 19 March 2021, 10am in the Kowhai Room, Ruapehu Wing, behind the old Waiora House site, corner of Spa Road and Motutaiko Street.
- Tokoroa - 26 March 2021, 10am at the Tokoroa Community Link, Te Rakaunui Room, 8-10 Torphin Crescent.
It’s time to press that reset button for a fresh new year with fresh new opportunities.
Put up that tree, plan that holiday with family, go to that festival. I intend to because we deserve it!
My offices will be closed for the annual parliamentary shutdown, however, in the event of an emergency, you can reach me by email [email protected] and phone messages will be checked.
The Cambridge office will physically be closed from 24 December 2020 to 15 January 2021.
The Taupo office will physically be closed from 24 December 2020 to 8 January 2021.
In the meantime, you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram or sign up to my newsletter at www.louiseupston.co.nz to stay in touch.
From my family to yours, a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
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