Is it time for a change?

The big fruit at Cromwell.
The big fruit at Cromwell.

Is it time for Cromwell to hang its promotion hat on something other than big fruit, a lake and old lettering? Jo McKenzie-McLean investigates.

The time has come to let the world know Cromwell is more than ''big fruit.''

Central Otago District Council community services manager Anne Pullar said the council would lead a process to develop a marketable brand for Cromwell.

Currently the town used some ''unique image sets'' to promote the town - Lake Dunstan, the fruit sculpture, and stylised wording of ''Cromwell,'' but that was not a brand.

''You want to go to the market and tell a unique story. I think it's timely Cromwell reviews what that story is. We all know Cromwell is more than big fruit - it is an important icon associated with our industry - but it's probably timely the community gets together and works in collaboration to develop a brand.''

Ms Pullar planned to discuss developing a brand with the Cromwell and Districts Promotions Group at its next meeting next month, then present a report to the Cromwell Community Board, she said.

Cromwell Community Board chairman Neil Gillespie said he emailed the promotions group in October suggesting it look at branding after discussions with Highlands Motorsport Park.

''It was something we were alerted to before the (December race meeting) - is our brand appropriate for what we have got now? Highlands is keen to work that through so the Cromwell community has got something everyone can use.''

Highlands Motorsport Park business development officer Josie Spillane said she was excited there would be consistency in a logo and brand the whole community could hang its hat on, which would create a synergy between all the attractions Cromwell had to offer.

''We really looked forward to working with the promotions group, community board and Tourism Central Otago in developing an identity for Cromwell and educating people there is so much to the region and it is worth a visit.''

''We have something really, really special here.''

However, a logo was not the ''be all and end all'' - businesses and community groups needed to have a proactive attitude to promote what Cromwell had to offer.

''We are working really hard to bring crowds - how can the town make the most of that? It is that out-side-of-the-box thinking local businesses in town need to give people a reason to go into Cromwell.''

Motorsport park organisers were already planning to start days later and finish earlier for the January meeting to give people the opportunity to go into the community, she said.

Many Cromwell businesses had commented trading was quiet during the motorsport park's first big race meeting, including community board member and manager of the Golden Gate Lodge Glen Christiansen.

However, there was still a huge opportunity for businesses to ''spring-board from what has happened over the weekend,'' he said.

''I know we are quick to say we missed the boat. I didn't think we missed the boat, I think we just underestimated the style (of visitor). People staying with me were there all day - our accommodation was busy but the food and beverage outlets were quiet.''

Mr Christiansen was already planning how to target crowds expected at the January race meeting, he said.

The town had ''moved on'' from the big fruit logo, he said.

''Times have changed, and people's experiences have changed.''

Likewise, Aimee Paardekooper of Cromwell PaperPlus said the ''ball was rolling'' to achieve better results for the January meeting.

''I have had discussions with local businesses how we can benefit from the next weekend. It is just a learning event for everyone.''

She welcomed a modernised logo and brand to fit with a town that was modern and going forward.

''I think the brand needs to be done regardless of the motorsport park. It is time if got updated.''



  • The 13m high fibreglass fruit structure was erected in 1990 after the Cromwell Rotary Club successfully pitched the idea to the Cromwell Borough Council.
  • In 1987, the Cromwell Borough called on the community to submit proposals for something different to advertise Cromwell.
  • The club received a Clyde Dam amenity grant of $31,000 for the project and the Cromwell Borough made up the balance of $69,000.
  • The local Promotion Group supplied the three signs reading ''Cromwell, The Centre of Attraction.''

The Mirror