Destination Cambridge marked 20 years of service to both locals and visitors on November 5 with an evening celebration in the town hall.
Close on 100 people gathered to acknowledge the work laid down by the organisation’s foundation members, and to share memories of its evolution over the intervening years.
The event was hosted by Destination Cambridge CEO and chairman respectively, Miff Macdiarmid and Philip Coles. Guests included some of the original board members from around 2000 when the then Information Centre became an Incorporated Society, among them Rosemary Hill, Kevin Burgess, Rob Feisst, Joe Scaramuzza, and Win Bills. Most of the seven managers who have steered the organisation over its two decades were also there – Liz Stolwyk, Jenny Wilson, Maree Kaati, Rebecca Foy and Roger Gordon. Unable to attend was Amanda Hema (nee Scott).
The Cambridge i-SITE timeline began in July 1999 when the Information Centre moved to the Cambridge Town Hall from its previous site by the old library. It fell originally under the umbrella of the Cambridge Community Board, with funding from Tourism Waikato, but when Tourism Waikato withdrew its funding in June 2000, the decision was made to form an Incorporated Society for the management of the centre. The first Board meeting was held in August 2000, and a month later Liz Stolwyk was appointed manager.
Elements were added over the years – bike hire, guided walks and tours, a popular retail wing and a stream of activities and events that included the hosting of gatherings for sporting heroes. The awards started coming in as tours and parades gained favour, both locally and further afield. It was under Roger Gordon’s watch in early 2016 that the centre rebranded under the Destination Cambridge umbrella, guests were told, and Liz explained how it had been Rosemary Hill who had come up with the ‘town of trees and champions’ mantra for Cambridge.
Philip Coles said the centre was “led magnificently” by Miff Macdiarmid and her team, plus the invaluable work done by 28 volunteers. He said 2020 had been a year full of challenges but said Destination Cambridge was ending the year “in a great position”.
Miff pointed out key dates and events on a printed timeline and memory boards, and urged guests to browse through scrapbooks collated over the years by Liz Stolwyk.
Speakers included several of those involved with the organisation, and long service awards were presented to Maree Kaati, Miriam Farrell and Rachael Colgan. Rachael was described by Miff as being a “walking encyclopaedia”, particularly when it came to the town hall.