Banging the drum for Upper Hutt City

COLIN WILLIAMS
Last updated 11:03 14/11/2012
14-UHL-antheacropped.jpg
COLIN WILLIAMS
Anthea Armstrong: ‘‘My priority, first and foremost, is to the residents here.’’

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Upper Hutt Leader

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Anthea Armstrong wears her heart on her sleeve.

The city's new marketing and communications manager is all unabashed enthusiasm about her role in "upping" Upper Hutt's profile, both within its own boundaries and further afield.

Ms Armstrong, who has lived in Wellington for the past decade, comes to her new city armed with a business science degree and the past three years as national funding and marketing manager for Alzheimers New Zealand, a not-for-profit organisation.

She was looking for a change, "starting to put the feelers out," when she spotted the city council's advertisement and immediately saw its appeal.

"In all the research I did all I saw was the opportunities here . . . there is a real relaxed way of life here, good retailing and its advantages for recreation are well-known with our golf courses and cycleways. It's a good mix and one that needs to be promoted better.

"My priority, first and foremost, is to the residents here.

"We need to make the city more attractive so they take the time to come and experience more of our things," she says.

Marketing can be "about banging the drum" but it is important the right people, the right sectors, get those right messages, she says.

Only in her second week in her new role, Ms Armstrong realises the work ahead involves getting her role defined as part of a "highly skilled council team" which needs to be better known to retailers, businesses and organisations.

"How can we support retailers over Christmas, for instance?"

"Maybe we need to look at extended hours, market days, how we can keep the dollar spend here . . . and with Christmas here soon maybe this can be a case study for the future."

An informal meeting with retailers, planned for the Expressions foyer tomorrow evening, will be an initial opener and the start of good consistent communication and "things to come," she says.

"I'll just be introducing myself and our team . . . we want to think of ourselves as the pit crew for our retailers, here and ready to work."

Her role is about getting "good news on Upper Hutt out there".

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