New chairman for Gordonton

Richard Riddell
Richard: “I love living in Gordonton.”

Except for a short stint overseas, Richard Riddell has lived all his life in Gordonton. The newly appointed chairman of Gordonton District Committee says he loves village life, and wants to achieve good outcomes for the area.

“In whole I would like to work with Waikato District Council to get the best outcomes for the good of the Gordonton Community. I am here to listen to community concerns and take these concerns to a meeting where we can decide on how to help.”

Richard, 51, was voted to head the Committee in September. One of the first issues he wants the committee to tackle is to change the zoning of the Domain.

“At the moment there are many restrictions on what we can do as a community, and we have to go through Council even though it is one of Gordonton’s assets. We would like more control on the events we can hold there – such as galas, markets, concerts and other community events – with less red tape.”

Other issues will come up at regular meetings which are held at least six times a year.

“The committee is answerable to Waikato District Council. But it is very important that many community issues are solved by the community ourselves and not have to go to Council all the time. The meetings create less red tape. It listens and acts on behalf of the community,” he says.

He is the fourth generation of the Riddell family to serve on the local hall committee – following James Riddell in the 1900s, Thomas Riddell in the 1930s and his father Arthur Riddell, who was on the Hall committee for 52 years.

“Twenty of those he was chairman, from 1976-1991 when it was the old Gordonton Hall Committee.”

The Gordonton District Committee was formed in 1991 by amalgamating all the other committees in Gordonton such as the Domain Committee, the Hukanui Park Committee, the Gordonton Beautifying Society and the Hall Committee. Richard is the third chairperson.

“Rod Wise was the first chairman and served for 10 years before handing over to John Bridgman who has been chairperson for the last 15 years.”

Anthony Rigter was voted vice chairperson at the meeting, which included members of the community, local business owners, representatives from Gordonton School, the Marae, Woodlands Homestead and other organisations.

Richard has been married to Sally-Ann for 25 years and the couple have three children. They bought the home farm in 1994.

“Gordonton has a real small rural community feel where everyone knows everybody. Yet you have the advantage of not being far from the city.”

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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