New role in region

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 11:30 08/02/2013
Susan Witehira
Susan Witehira, regional events strategy co-ordinator

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The Marlborough District Council yesterday appointed Susan Witehira as its new regional events strategy co-ordinator.

Mrs Witehira was the Marlborough Rugby World Cup regional project manager two years ago.

The new role was set up by council after a request from Grow Marlborough, a group of tourism and retail operators, to help Marlborough retain and attract major events. It is funded through a levy on commercial and industrial ratepayers.

She said there was "huge scope" in the job. There were a lot of things that could be set up and strategies put in place which could then encourage events to come to Marlborough, Mrs Witehira said. "The first part is talking with regional event managers now and helping them, where I can."

Her world cup experience would be helpful, she said, as during that role, she made lots of contacts within Marlborough.

Mrs Witehira's appointment is for three years. She will begin work on March 4, working 30 hours a week.

"But it's not like I turn my cellphone off, and I will be attending events on the weekends and meetings at night."

Destination Marlborough general manager Tracy Johnston said the new role was at the top of the agenda for the Grow Marlborough forum participants for 2012.

"There is a real desire to work together across the sector groups to align activity and communication. We welcome Susie's appointment and look forward to working alongside the council to maximise every opportunity that events create for this region."

Council strategic planning and economic development manager Neil Henry said Mrs Witehira's Rugby World Cup experience would be very valuable, and would have provided a good insight into Marlborough's events sector.

Part of the job brief will be to develop a plan for supporting and building on existing events and improving the communication between all sectors, he said. The role does not include actual event organisation.

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- The Marlborough Express

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