Community rallies to help sailing Horowhenua club
A few weeks ago Horowhenua Sailing Club members were seriously considering whether the club had any future.
They now have renewed spirit after a community working bee to repair and spruce up the vandalised club building and surrounds at Lake Horowhenua Domain at the weekend.
Club commodore David Brown said seeing more than 200 people turn out to help, and local businesses donate products and materials was "unbelievable and overwhelming".
"It has been three years since we have been able to have some use of our building. Only a few weeks ago we were thinking whether we should just demolish it and wind up the club," he said.
"But now, in time, I can see the club getting back to the strength it used to be."
Mr Brown said their building was starting to "look the part again" and that the club would continue to have smaller working bees to complete the job.
"To get the graffiti off the walls, all the broken windows replaced and mulching on the gardens has improved the whole atmosphere of the place. We're even getting a new gas hot water system."
Mr Brown said they had not been able to store their 12 yachts or two rescue boats at the building for fear of theft or vandalism, so they were lent out to other clubs or kept in storage, and club members were sailing elsewhere.
He said the "unfortunate incident" last month at the nearby rowing club, where vandals broke in and damaged most of the boats inside had spurred a community movement and a united front against such crimes.
Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy said the weekend's community working bee was "outrageously successful".
"It was a fantastic statement by the community with brilliant commercial support and wonderful to see so many members of Muaupoko (local iwi) out in support," he said.
"And the feedback has been wonderful, with lots of people saying 'thank you'."
Otaki MP Nathan Guy said it was pleasing to see the community rally behind the sailing and rowing clubs and to support the Horowhenua District Council which ran the working bee.
"This was a chance for the community to come together and show we are united against the vandalism," he said.
"It is a way of showing that we all want Lake Horowhenua to be the jewel in the crown of our region."
Police arrested activist and self- described lake guardian Phil Taueki, 53, at the working bee for allegedly verbally abusing Mr Duffy.
He was charged with disorderly behaviour.