7 March 2022

Contributions from Carterton’s community and local organisations have brought a local youngster’s dream one step closer to reality.

Ka Pai Carterton, the district’s Community-Led Development Programme, has boosted Molly O’Dwyer’s campaign to get a new slide for Carterton’s outdoor swimming pools with funding from the Department of Internal Affairs.

Molly spoke at last year’s 10-Year Plan consultation hearings and urged Council to replace the slide at the town’s Outdoor Pools.

Council pledged made room in its Ten-Year Plan budget for up to $10,000 towards the project and sought to support Molly with her community fundraising for the rest.

Our community rose to the challenge and secured most of the funds needed within two months.

Online donations and sausage sizzles boosted the funds after January’s launch.

Ka Pai Carterton’s committee has voted to pledge a sizeable amount towards the slide.

Their generous backing also involves allows for new murals at the pool as part of the funding grant. Youth group Rangatahi to Rangatira Carterton [R2R] will help with the murals project.

More FM Wairarapa’s Brent Gare broke the good news to Molly, alongside Lucy McKenzie, Ka Pai Carterton Community Facilitator, and Rebecca Vergunst, Deputy Mayor of Carterton.

Molly thanked the community for their efforts in supporting her.

“I’m very happy. It shows that you should not be afraid to speak up if you want to see change. Don’t be afraid to step up.”

Lucy McKenzie, Community Facilitator, Ka Pai Carterton, said Molly’s voice has been heard and supported.

“And – with the community’s collective funding – it will be actioned.

“This project provides an excellent example to Carterton rangatahi, providing first-hand experience on how to affect local change.

“The Ka Pai Carterton committee unanimously supported contributory funding of $42,090 +GST towards this project which highlights Carterton’s community aspirations of nurturing youth, and having more fun stuff to do!”

The campaign received another generous grant from Trust House, and community fundraising so far has totalled more than $4000. This was on top of welcome support from the Wairarapa business community, who came together to provide some of the sponsorship for the community fundraising.

The combined amount raised is just enough to buy the slide. But a little more a should cover installation, and cover any extra costs.

A final drive – or rather dive – is needed. And that opportunity lands with a splash next week.

Greg Lang, Mayor of Carterton, will join a team on Saturday 19 March in a 10km swim to aim to earn the rest of the funds needed.

Molly and friends will be there to count the laps.

And at around 300 lengths – roughly the distance from the Waingawa River to central Carterton – there will be plenty to count.

“After the fantastic efforts of our community and groups to raise such a tremendous amount in such a short time, we must raise enough to realise Molly’s dream,” Greg said.

“We would love for our 10km swim to help put the amount over the top and ensure we can provide a new slide, murals, and other good stuff at our much-loved free pools. Thank you Molly, and thank you Carterton!”

Fellow swimmer Lucy Griffiths said she loves “a good challenge and this one has a great cause linked to it”.

“My young boys and I discovered the Carterton Pool a year ago and we love it on hot afternoons.

The three outdoor pools are perfect for the whole whanau. I want to do my bit to support it so that the whole extended community can continue to enjoy it.

“The wee yellow slide is in constant use but the blue one as Molly rightfully puts it, is unsafe and needs replacing. Bring on the new one!”

Teammate Ali Gordon said swimming is an important life skill.

“When I was about 3 or 4 years old, I recall being thrown into the deeper end of an outdoor pool by my rather tough swim teacher. I had 2 options – sink or swim.

I swam. Despite my scary start to swimming, I have always loved being in the water. I especially love swimming under the open sky.

“I will attempt to swim 10k for Molly and for many other children who will have the opportunity to learn to swim in a fun pool, without the scariness that I had to overcome.”

Bridie Allen, another colleague, said the challenge is a way to give back to the “awesome Carterton community”.

“We are so lucky to have this outdoor swimming facility in our town. My kids and I have spent many hours there, playing, training, learning to swim, and cooling off. Also committing to this event has given me a training goal.”

Donate or send the team a message at givealittle.co.nz/cause/mollysslide.