The Karamea Information Centre
Originating some 25 plus years ago as a community facility with restricted opening hours and staffed by volunteers, the Karamea Information and Resource Centre Inc gained Charitable Status in 1994, and today successfully operates out of large premises in the heart of Market Cross, where the Centre has become the hub of the community.
It is owned by the community, and run by the community for the community, and offers resource and information services to both newcomers to the district and local residents as well as increasing numbers of visitors, providing a wide range of information, support and assistance. It is basically a service centre for Karamea.
Dairy farming, and growing horticultural and tourism industries are the key to Karamea’s survival into the future, and encouraging visitors to the area will help maintain the viability of our little rurally isolated area. The Centre provides information on the surrounding Kahurangi National Park, and is the booking Centre for guided tours in the Oparara Valley. In conjunction with Farmlands we likewise run a farm supply store, supplying on-the-spot farm supplies to our local farmers, and a growing number of lifestylers as they buy in and set up on smaller blocks of land with a view to living in Karamea permanently.
The Centre keeps in touch with the community by publishing a fortnightly community newspaper, which is available as a hard copy at the Info Centre or Four Square store, but is also delivered by the Rural Mail service or emailed. Spring sees a huge influx of whitebaiters returning year after year to their favourite possies.
Ten years ago the local garage and fuel supply closed its doors, and after some negotiation and with the backing of Development West Coast, the Centre took over the fuel supply and moved into the renovated service station station, enabling it to remain open 7 days a week and provide employment for three part-time staff. We are indebted to funding assistance from the Buller District Council, Lottery Community, and COGS as we seek to become self- sufficient.
Thus the community not only owns the Centre, but also owns a guaranteed fuel supply to secure Karamea’s future.
The Centre is truly a tribute to the “do it yourself” attitude inherent in all small rurally isolated communities, looking after the well being of its people!