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Motueka Online seeks new owner-operator

September 5th, 2017
[by David Armstrong, present editor]

After nearly eight years operating the Motueka Online community website, I have decided to either close it down or pass it on to someone else.

The website will continue to operate and be updated until the end of September. Thereafter its content will remain static awaiting either a new person or group to take ownership, or go offline when the annual site hosting and domain name to come up for renewal at the end of November.

If the site does close, community clubs and groups which have information on the website that they wish to keep, will need to make copies and store them elsewhere.

Many factors have been involved in this decision and I took many months thinking through the various options available, but in the end it is for me clearly the time to pass it on freely to anyone would like to continue it or even upgrade it.

As we all know, the news media scene is changing rapidly as social media, smartphone-targeted websites and fast broadband enable news and information to be spread much more easily than a decade ago.

The Motueka Online website, when first constructed, was comprehensive, easy to navigate and fast to download at the time when Internet connections were often slow and unreliable. But the site is now clearly dated in both its appearance and its means of use. And it's not very friendly to use on a smartphone.

It is neither within my skill levels nor my energy levels to redesign the site, and the time taken with my involvement in other community activities as well as family commitments and other personal hobbies means this is about the right time to pass it on.

Anyone thinking they may wish to take it up as owner and operator need not pay me anything to own the site and the domain name, but will need to either pay the existing domain name and server fees totalling $182.79 per annum from November, or pay whatever is required to move it to another server.

Over the years I have been helped a great deal by several local businesses as long-term sponsors, although the intention has never been to make a liveable salary from the site. A new owner may see some commercial opportunities (that is, advertising) that I have been uninterested in pursuing.

That new owner-operator would need to know how to maintain a website as well as write and edit site content (their own writing and submitted by others). The site is currently coded and edited in pure HTML with a small amount of JavaScript.

If a new owner and operator does come forward, I will be very happy to work with them over the next month or two to orientate them and assist with the techniques involved. I will also be happy to contribute occasional news items.

As a guideline to the sort of commitment required, once Motueka Online was established and running to a routine, it took me an average of 10 hours a week to write and maintain, depending mainly on how many news items I wrote. A new owner may choose to remove some services or rarely used parts of the site to reduce their time commitment.

For me, this eight years has been valuable in getting closer to a lot of the great work done by people and community groups in Motueka, through news articles that I have written.

The site remains the largest and busiest not-for-profit community website in Australasia, and a highlight of the time was being chosen as a finalist in the New Zealand and Australia Internet awards two years ago.

My thanks to previous sponsors and especially those who have been supportive over the past several years, including Ray White Real Estate, House of Travel, NBS bank, Patisserie Royale Bakery Cafe, Steph Fry Dental Surgery and Unichem Pharmacy.

Comment by Shirley Frater:
[Posted 9 September 2017]

Thank you David (also Val ). The site has been so useful and you have been so willing to add, under pressure, items that are part of the community information. So many things get lost in the big picture it's wonderful to have a "mot snapshot". Best wished for time out.

Comment by Brent Maru:
[Posted 9 September 2017]

David what a tremendous effort and I have to say I look forward to my weekly link to Motueka Online. Website maintenance is well outside my skills so hoping someone sees a great opportunity that you have offered. Again a big thank you for your commitment to publishing interesting community issues for the past 8 years.

Comment by Beth Bryant:
[Posted 9 September 2017]

Thank you David for maintaining this ebullition and website for us all here in Motueka. It has been very useful and informative and kept us up to date with what is happening. Thankyou. It would be sad if it does not continue.

Comment by Jim Butler:
[Posted 10 September 2017]

I am saddened but not surprised that David is giving up producing Motueka Online after 8 years. He has done a magnificent job, but it must have involved him for about 24/7 for much of the time. A lesser person would have suffered from burnout years earlier. I wish him well and hope David continues in Vision Motueka and with Keep Motueka Beautiful because he is a stalwart in both these organisations.

It is my opinion that Our Town Motueka would miss a great opportunity if they do not take over Motueka Online. Of course they would operate it differently as one would expect every business that wished to be involved, would have an entry which they would keep updated with their latest bargains or services.

One would also hope that whoever takes over Motueka Online would be prepared to allow those voluntary organisations to have entries if they are prepared to keep them updated. This should also include the Motueka Community Board.

Comment by Ann Kidd:
[Posted 18 September 2017]

Thanks David for effort and dedication to date which has been greatly appreciated. It would be a shame to see the demise of Motueka On Line, I look forward to receiving it in my email box every weekend. Our Town Motueka should seriously look at merits of continuing it, for it is a valuable resource.

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We wish to thank these local community-minded businesses who generously sponsor our site. They recognise the value of supporting this community asset, and in return Motueka Online is pleased to use and recommend their services whenever appropriate.

Ray White Motueka,  Nelson Building Society,  House of Travel,
  Patisserie Royale,  Steph Wills Dental Surgery,  Unichem Pharmacy


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