“I just hope that instead of being fearful of the unknown that people simply talk to each other; welcome the new person on the street and reach out to them as it’s not easy being new”.
At Happylocal, we like to shine a light on those who are running community organisations, events and groups that bring people together to connect, have fun or do some good. But there are also a few people who are like the glue holding the grass-root initiatives together, the type of people you can always count on to spread the word, turn up and champion the local projects with their unwavering support.
And as the saying goes, we rise by lifting others and there isn’t a more fitting quote that applies to Rick and Ron of Omokoroa…our latest Happylocal Heroes. They are real makers and doers; managing the Omokoroa Cyberlink, being part of the project crew for the impressive Omokoroa Skatepark and the Omokoroa Coastal Challenge as well as future plans for hosting workshops and a library of things to rent home appliances out to their local community – how great would that be! We bonded over making Mozzarella cheese from scratch…yes it was as dreamy as it sounds!
Ron and Rick, how do you like to spend your time?
Ron: With people! Rick is the natural tinkerer whereas I like doing different things that challenge me and scare me a bit. For example, I recently played Beach Volleyball with work colleagues and there were a lot of fit, gorgeous people around, which made me feel a bit anxious but it was good as it made me feel alive doing things that push my boundaries – not bungy jumping or anything like that though! And last week I went along to a local Design Thinking Meetup group, with about 40 people I didn’t know and I hadn’t gone along to something like that in a long time, where they were all part of Media or Design…yet it had a point to it and using photos to show their outcomes from the previous meetings – it was all part of the experience for me and the funniest thing was that the first person I met said straight after my introduction “oh great we could really do with that link here” I love those kind of connections!
Why do you love living here?
Rick: A beautiful community with very accommodating people, somewhere where everyone knows what is going on (which some might find a bad thing) yet you know people actually do care about you and they do get together to help out. The amazing views, an ocean on your doorstep, access to good healthy food – anything can grow here!
What are your hopes and dreams for the future of the Bay of Plenty?
Ron: There’s already a good community spirit that exists through clubs and when you walk down the street everyone says hello here. But I think also that people are scared of what’s happening with all the growth and change in Omokoroa. I just hope that instead of being fearful of the unknown that people simply talk to each other; welcome the new person on the street and reach out to them as it’s not easy being new. Rick: I agree with Ron, everyone has their own story and brings something different to contribute to the community.
Well said from two folks who are an example to us all on how to love your local life and to simply get involved. Rick (originally from Australia but has spent a lot of time in England) and Ron (from England) have lived in Omokoroa for 4 years.
Are you feeling inspired after this interview to try something new? Then download the new version of Happylocal here if you haven’t already, which features local Meetup groups, Eventfinda events and experiences.