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May 17, 2010 | by  | in Online Only |
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Welcome to Broadwood

I jumped at the chance to give my “small town” some well deserved publicity in the pages of Salient. It became pretty clear however that my small town that I was so fond of, Broadwood, would be considered more of a collection of houses, a shop and a school, compared to “real” towns such as Feilding or Te Awamutu. Whether you think it counts as a “town” or not is up to you, and if you’d like to refer to it as a city as some tourists have, you’re welcome to, though I think that may be stretching the truth a little.

Broadwood can be found about four hours north of Auckland, or three hours south of Cape Reinga, depending a little on how many campervans you get stuck behind. There is a rugby field, two churches, a community hall, a school, an old swingbridge, a general store and a recreation centre. There are frequent community events, including pot luck dinners where the farmers get together to catch up. There is also an annual Country Fair.

I was born in Kaitaia, a slightly bigger town not far away, and grew up down a gravel road about 10 minutes out of Broadwood. I went to Play Centre in Broadwood as a child and then moved on to the school there. I met some tourists once who wanted to settle in the area and raise children. They were concerned that there may not be anything for their children to do, and asked my advice. In the 18 years I spent in Broadwood, I was never bored. As children, if my brother or sister and I got in my mum’s way she’d say “we’ve got 90 acres, go outside and play!” I used to ride my horse to Broadwood and back, and when I outgrew her, I would run there instead. The local physical education teacher would hold free fitness classes at the Recreation Centre, an old rural supplies building. The Broadwood community is pretty pro-active and applied for and were awarded grants to renovate the building and fix the leaking roof.

I feel pretty lucky having grown up in a small town and being included in a small community. Some people assume that you’ve been “sheltered” and don’t know much about the world, and I can see how they would assume this, but I could do just the same for those who’ve grown up in cities. I decided last year to move to Wellington after carefully thinking about different universities and where I wanted to live. Most of my friends moved to Auckland, but that was a bit close to home for me. Broadwood and Wellington couldn’t be much more different. I love that there are a lot of opportunities in Wellington, and that things are quite accessible. I’m not so keen on the sirens that wake me up in the early hours of the morning, but I guess it’s not that different to the bull standing outside the house and bellowing every morning at 4:30.

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