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 a 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 is still a mainstay of the local economy, but rapidly expanding horticultural and tourism industries are adding economic diversity, and will likely play increasing roles in ensuring Karamea’s survival into the future. By encouraging visitors to the area, we will help maintain the viability of our secluded area. The Centre provides information on the surrounding Kahurangi National Park, and is the booking Centre for guided tours in the Oparara Valley. We work with Farmlands to run a small farm supply store within the Centre, saving our local farmers from making the trip to Westport, and supporting a growing number of lifestylers who have moved to Karamea to live on smaller blocks of land. Spring sees an influx of whitebaiters returning year after year to their favourite possies.
The Centre keeps in touch with the community by publishing a fortnightly community newspaper (the Karamea Chronicle), 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.
Seeing an opportunity when 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 in 2006, enabling it to remain open 7 days a week (except public holidays) 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.
In 2017, the fuel pumps became an unmanned site operated by Allied Fuel Company, providing 24/7 access to fuel at competitive prices. Customers may still purchase fuel for cash inside the Info Centre during opening hours.
The Centre is truly a tribute to the “do it yourself” attitude inherent in all small rural isolated communities, with well-being of the people at the heart of what we do!