Region is a winner with scouts

PERFECT FIT: Marlborough will host the next national scout jamboree. From left to right (back): Dean Marshall, Mike Godsall, Alistair Sowman and Susie Witehira; (front) Aaron Douglas, Josh Wilson and Ashley Ireland.
PERFECT FIT: Marlborough will host the next national scout jamboree. From left to right (back): Dean Marshall, Mike Godsall, Alistair Sowman and Susie Witehira; (front) Aaron Douglas, Josh Wilson and Ashley Ireland.

Marlborough has beaten Christchurch and Ashburton to host the next national scout jamboree.

The jamboree will bring 4500 scouts to Renwick for the 10-day event from December 28, 2016, to January 6, 2017, along with their families and other scouting groups from Australia.

Jamboree director Guy Beatson said the 21st New Zealand Jamboree Executive Team had recommended Marlborough as the site for the next jamboree after a six-month long assessment process.

He said the national executive committee wanted the jamboree to be in the South Island if possible. Venues were narrowed down to Christchurch, Ashburton and Blenheim/Marlborough.

"Holding the Jamboree in Christchurch means a scaled-down event. The jamboree and Scouting would divert resources from the Christchurch rebuild and put pressure on already stretched facilities, even at the end of 2016.

"Ashburton is a credible venue with some great facilities and activities in the area. Comparatively higher costs and the preparation required to hold the Jamboree count against it.

"Renwick, Marlborough, made an early proposal and updated it, understood the jamboree requirements well and has the lowest costs for a site in the South Island. It also has access to great activities close to the jamboree site."

Scouting NZ has also committed to bringing the national jamboree back to Marlborough in the summer of 2025-26.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the event had been secured directly as a result of the work of Marlborough's events co-ordinator Susie Witehira who worked with Scouts New Zealand for more than six months.

"When we established our three-year regional events strategy and appointed a co-ordinator, one of the aspirations was to see a new major event brought to the region by 2016 and this certainly ticks that box."

Sowman said it was good to hear from Beatson that Marlborough's early proposal and the fact that the jamboree requirements were well understood here had helped to clinch the deal.

"The scouts were also pleased to see that Marlborough could offer so many great activities in close proximity to the jamboree site. All in all, the event is a perfect fit with Marlborough's reputation as a great place for outdoor recreation."

Renwick's Giesen Sports and Events Centre would serve as the main camp site with activities taking place around Marlborough. As well as Renwick, there will be four other activity hubs encompassing Picton, Blenheim, Omaka and Pine Valley.

There will also be a family campsite next to the main campsite where parents and siblings could stay so they can visit the scouts on-site during jamboree open days.

Witehira said the jamboree was a big event which required input from the council's reserves team, building control section and waste management staff, as there were many requirements in safely accommodating so many youngsters at one location.

It would bring a significant economic return to the region, she said.

"It should guarantee a very good summer season for a large number of our businesses as a result of this one event; tourism, retailers, catering, transport, construction, accommodation and recreation companies. It will also be a boost for stadium and movie theatre patronage and our restaurants and cafes."

She said the event would bring people to the region for more than the 10 days of the jamboree.

"Jamboree is for children aged from aged 10 upwards so many scout families build their summer holiday around the event so I would expect to see many families arriving earlier or staying on in the region afterward. It should make for a real bumper holiday season for tourism operators catering to families." 

The Marlborough Express