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Participants described Kakahi as a safe community and a great place to live and raise children:

"I’m probably the newest one here and I don’t have a connection to Kakahi. It was just the compactness of the community and I am raising two children, and to give them the security, to be able to go out and play like we did in the olden days. You know, the friendship that can be forged in small communities. And know that my children can be out and I just have to holler. I live in the village so I know they can hear me, that they're safe, that everyone knows everyone, and they know where those children belong, and if they're supposed to be there or not. I think it's the support I have felt in a small community. And I love the people here. The fact that my kids can ride their bikes on the road, do the loop and go to the playground if they're with an older kid. It's that safe, old feeling of, you know, being part of a family."
"I don’t have family here, but I have people I know I can call on as one would call on as family."
"My husband and I we were living at (redacted) and we when we were looking to buy a house and we were looking at Taumarunui and National Park, but when we came to Kakahi we were like, oh, it's so beautiful, and for the kids the space and the feeling of the community, and it's close to town, and it's a shame the school isn't here anymore. My daughter has just started at Ōwhango which is a really good little school as well. It's great to be close to town but not in town. And everything grows here, you can put anything in the ground and it grows. And the weather is its own little climate and a great place to bring up the kids."

Participants felt that in Kakahi there was more scope for social connection and cooperation within the community. The Marae and the Hall were both considered valued assets within the community, although it was felt that residents could cooperate better regarding the management of the Kakahi Hall.

"It’s collectively amongst all of us. Do we take care of our own? Look after each other? We look after young and old, each other. Tautoko, no matter who you are. We have a marae; our community are more than welcome to come and be a part of it. We don’t turn anyone away. You’re more than welcome to come up. We’re all community."
"I love Kakahi and the people who live here, but it’s got to be a more together place. A community getting together, somewhere, someway, to promote Kakahi itself, plus the hall. It needs backing, it needs help. We’ve got to get together somehow and help out. The many hours of work that we put into (the hall) over the years to get it to what it is. It’s unique. There’s that much timber in here. "

The village hall is not a Council owned facility, and some concerns were held over its long-term management, upkeep and upgrades.
"The hall needs a disability toilet."
"It would have to be community fundraising."
"That's right."
"Just put a toilet at the playground and leave the hall alone. If you knew how the money was raised to open this hall, you might stop and think, well where’s the money coming from? It’s easy for newcomers to tell us what to do."
"It does need to go out to the community and have a robust discussion."
"This hall is priceless."
"My concern is with our local hall here, we’ve spent years raising money and that for it, but it’s got a new group running it now, but there hasn’t been a meeting for 18 months. And I think they have to buck their ideas up. We have to call on the younger ones. It costs $2500 a year for power and that to keep the hall running. There’s no fundraising, it’s going to go down. Go bankrupt."
"My main concern is the hall, as well. As (redacted) said, the community group that has been in the past has been no longer. There’s division and a bit of cancel culture. If somebody doesn’t think mainstream then that issue is pushed aside so I think we really do need to come back together with a different attitude, with the main concern being the hall. There is no funding, no meetings, no hall committee. It’s just the, you know, incorporated society and the hall committee has been de-bunked. The custodial role has been demoted to caretaker. It’s quite difficult. We really need a hall committee on board to actually look after our hall or we’re going to lose it."
"We’ve just spent the last few years fighting to save the War Memorial Hall in town, gone to all those meetings and fighting to save that hall. And here I am living in Kakahi and we're not looking after our own. That's something we can get better at."
"We haven’t been doing our community thing. What I’ve been thinking over in my head, our hall is 100 years old this year. OK? So these meetings we’re supposed to be having aren’t eventuating for some reasons. What I was thinking, possibly, just put it out there to all you fullas: Labour Weekend, Kakahi Hall Centenary Pot Luck Celebration."
"Community dinner, tell all the Whānau, come to town. Camp up. We have a bit of a get together, and the ones from out of town come on a long weekend. Have a BBQ, three or four BBQs. A fire. Dancing."
"Talcum powder on the dance floor!"
"A bit of a hoe down!"
"Just putting it out there. Potluck dinner, sit around talking. You gotta converse. Come together and go from there. The COVID thing blew everything to pieces but that’s over now. "

Just as in 2020, residents of Kakahi did not fee"l that crime was a systemic problem in the village.
"We’re all lovely, law-abiding people!
"We did have a concern a few years ago when the Salvation Army were running the youth camps for the… what were they called?"
"The rehab."
"The rehab. That’s the word I was looking for. The rehab camps. While they were supposed to be in rehab, they were on the streets. But there was such an outcry over it, it was canned, actually. That was a disaster."
"There was a spate of burglary, but I don’t know. Not for a while. Not now."

As well as being raised as a concern regarding water quality as indicated above, dogs were also mentioned in terms of being a noise, safety and fouling problem:
"I’m concerned about dogs."
My life has been ruined by dogs. The noise. We don’t get much sleep."
"Yeah, people don’t tell their dogs to shut up. "
"For some it’s a real issue."
"I don’t see any end to it to be honest. There’s been days I’m so tired I can’t go to work."
"We’ve had dogs on our property, chasing animals. It’s actually really affected my whole family."
"Not only that, some dog owners are quite hostile and don’t look after their animals. It’s a real concern but nothing is being done."
"They take their dogs for a run down at the river and they shit all down at the river. It’s horrendous because you take your kids there for a picnic and there is dog shit everywhere."
"The whole story of dogs in Kakahi is another issue. When I had dogs we got to register them with Council or else. Yet you drive around the streets and find over 50% of the dogs in Kakahi are unregistered. Council should be looking at that. They’ve got animal control. They’ve got people, they just took on another one."
"Nobody seems to want to do anything. Nobody’s actually doing anything about it. The barking. We can hear it from my place."
"This has gone on for two years, the rate payers are having to pay for the council to keep coming out every time there is a complaint. Just sort it! There’s legislation behind this that can sort the problem out but they don’t seem to do anything about it."

Biggest Challenges for Kakahi:

  • Coordinating people to work together; collaborate and cooperate.
  • The management and future of the hall.
  • Impact of visitors and human activity on the natural environment, particularly water.

Best things about Kakahi:

  • The peace and tranquillity of natural environment.
  • A small but diverse community.
  • Being connected to the area.
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