Posted by Ruth Woodward
Teresa Qualtrough sees the great potential for Waihi Beach as a destination and is making it her mission to spread the word.
Teresa is the recently appointed Community Coordinator for Waihi Beach Events and Promotions and comes to the job with domestic and international experience in marketing and events promotion.
But it all began at the Beach – where Teresa spent most of her holidays as a youngster, growing up in Athenree and attending Katikati College.
After 11 years overseas working in a range of marketing and public relations positions in New York, Melbourne and London, Teresa, her husband Philip and their two children Pia, 3 and Finley, 5, returned to New Zealand – and to Waihi Beach.
Some people will recall the Tumbleweed food truck at the Beach and Athenree last year – that was Teresa’s first venture on returning to live locally.
Teresa took over the reins at Waihi Beach Events and Promotions in April this year and is now in the thick of planning for the peak summer months.
But she is equally as focused on the winter season and `shoulder’ season so that there is a year-round calendar of events to attract visitors to the beach. It’s a big workload and there’s much to organise.
So, when Western Bay of Plenty District Council increased funding for the Events and Promotions group, Teresa and the Waihi Beach Events & Promotions Committee put the money toward employing a part-timer – Kirsty West to lend a hand.
Kirsty and Teresa split the work – Kirsty focusing on events and social media and Teresa on public relations, communications and community relationships.
Longer term, Teresa is hopeful that Kirsty’s role will become a permanent position – as she is proving invaluable and is enabling Teresa to plan events and give them a “totally new twist’’ over the summer season.
“My vision for this role is to raise the profile of Waihi Beach as a destination town all year round, to bring more visitors here and to increase their length of stay.
“I am looking at the gaps and trying to figure out a drawcard for winter – particularly for the 20 to 40-year-old age group. And I am particularly interested in winter and the off-season because if we can have our local economy humming all year round that would be fantastic for everyone.
“The reason I took on this job is because I want to have an influence and make a difference for my community.”