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Johny O'Donnell resigns from Our Town Motueka

April 29th, 2017

Chronic health problems and time pressure from his own growing business have forced Johny O'Donnell to resign as chairman of Our Town Motueka.

The young man with innovative ideas about improving Motueka's economy has found it "too difficult to balance this [work with OTM] against the needs of my health and operating a rapidly growing business", he said in an email yesterday to other committee members.

Johny took on the chairmanship role of OTM last September after two years serving on the committee. In recent years he has struggled with a chronic health issue which has seen him several times in hospital.

His youthful drive and thorough understanding of the workings of social media and other new marketing techniques brought a refreshing new focus for OTM, which represents Motueka business ratepayers.

In his letter of resignation, Johny says, "volunteering for an organisation like Our Town Motueka is not all wine and nibbles, there is considerable heavy lifting to be done to develop the organisation and strike the balance between casting new ground with fresh projects and ideas whilst maintaining the core activities of the organisation".

"As we entered the 2017 year, I had a healthy list of projects that I wished to implement for Our Town Motueka that I believe would have had a positive impact for the town.

"Unfortunately, I won't get the opportunity to see these through as chairperson but I encourage the committee to maintain a healthy focus on marketing outputs for the town. That is undoubtedly where our energy and resources are best focused for maximum output for our members.

"As a town with a checkered public reputation over the years, developing the Love Motueka brand is the single best opportunity we have ever had to re-invent our story and reclaim a positive Motueka identity.

"Continuing to build out and utilise the marketing assets will allow the brand to reach more people; attracting more visitors and retaining more value from our existing visitor spend.

"Our Town Motueka is about more than flags and hanging baskets, it's a vehicle for our town to build a positive identity and develop the towns economic and social potential.

"More money in the back pockets of local businesses, means more jobs and employment opportunities which has a direct impact on our community wellbeing.

"Don't take that responsibility lightly, every business owner in Motueka has an obligation to be engaged and contributing to Our Town Motueka."

He says he is proud to have been involved in the organisation through changes such as:

  • The introduction of Love Motueka as the promotional brand for the town.
  • development of a new website that has received over ten thousands hits since its launch.
  • Launching the Love Motueka video which has garnered over 70,000 views online from all around the world.
  • The introduction of free wifi on High Street which has been an exceptionally well used facility for visitors and locals alike.
  • Refreshing the tired old town flags into new vibrant and colourful Love Motueka branded flags.
  • The continued success of the Starlight Christmas Parade which brings people together and showcases our community.
  • The development of online marketing assets including an email database of several thousand and social media channels that allow us to reach tens of thousands of people each week.
  • Launch of Our Town Motueka Business Social evenings which have grown in popularity over the past year.
  • Development of relationships with the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce, Nelson Regional Development Agency and Tasman Bay Promotions.

Kaiwaka Cafe owner Matthew Galvin will take over the role of Chairperson, having until now been Deputy Chairperson, and Johny has also resigned from the committee.

Comment by Sue CLark:
[Posted 29 April 2017]

I am very sad to hear of Johny's resignation but I do understand that sometimes we have to look after ourselves before the community. We shall miss his enthusiasm and drive but I am sure his successor will be equally as energetic on Motueka's behalf.

Comment by Johny O'Donnell (via Facebook):
[Posted 29 April 2017]

Thanks everyone for your kind words. Just to be clear - I'm actually okay and in good spirits. It's more a proactive move as I do have a health condition which constrains me somewhat and I travel frequently for my business which made it difficult to make inroads here with OTM in the way I had hoped to do.

I joined OTM 3 years ago as I thought it was a great vehicle for developing the economic and social potential of the town. I still think that and will look forward to following the continued progress of the current committee.

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