13 Oct 2016

Tiny town's invitation attracts new residents

9:37 pm on 13 October 2016

Property packages being offered to entice people to the South Otago town of Kaitangata have been snapped up, with hopes the scheme could be rolled out elsewhere.

Kaitangata farmer and project organiser Evan Dick, at the site of some of the new sections

Kaitangata farmer and project organiser Evan Dick - pictured at the site of some of the new sections Photo: RNZ/ Ian Telfer

Local dairy farmer Evan Dick came up with the deal in June, which offered a new home for $230,000, and the promise of a surplus of work in the town.

Mr Dick said he started the project to bring back a bit of life to the town, and hoped to attract one or two new families.

With 11 home and land packages now sold, he's delighted.

He said Kaitangata's newest residents would include a South African family who were already living in New Zealand, an Auckland woman and her two sons, an Australian family and a man who had lived in Kaitangata more than 20 years ago and was moving back.

Balclutha Real Estate agent Margot Berney said that considering there were only two or three sales in Kaitanaga over the course of a couple of years, 11 sales was massive for the town of about 800 people.

"This is the whole reason that this idea was put together - people had sections, and they land-banked them, and nothing ever moved... It's such a huge difference."

The promotion has also led to a large volume of emails and inquiries to Clutha Development from people wanting to move to the wider area and looking for work.

Kaitangata town.

Kaitangata, in South Otago, is home to about 800 people - and counting. Photo: RNZ/ Ian Telfer

Clutha Development chief executive Linda Moore said they had set up a job portal, which listed available jobs, in response to the interest.

Two weeks in, they have 23 listings on the site, several offering multiple opportunities.

Mr Dick would next week meet with two local MPs and said he hoped they would support sourcing government funding for the project, including the construction of several homes in Kaitangata.

That would help encourage people who were unsure about moving to the region, including families from Auckland who were interested but found it too difficult to commit to a bare section, he said.

Mr Dick said they would be happy to take on the mortgage for an already constructed home.

He hoped the project could be started in Kaitangata and rolled out in other regional areas.

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