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Allen Martin, new Caroline Bay Association president.

by Claire Allison

He is an old hand at the Caroline Bay Carnival, but new president Allen Martin is bringing young blood to the role.

At just 31, Mr Martin is believed to be the youngest president in the association’s 108-year history, and has been involved with the Caroline Bay Carnival since he was 13, working on rides and games and serving on the committee, including two terms as vice-president.

The Port Blakely forestry supervisor takes over from Warren Barker, who served as president for the past two years, and had previously held the role for a 16-year stretch.

Mr Barker said he was happy to stand down knowing the association was in good hands.

“I think they’ve got a good, positive committee, and I wish them well for the future. They’ve certainly got my support, and if I can help them in any way, I will.”

Mr Martin said he had thought about standing in the past, but sometimes life just got in the way.

“I think the timing is right now. I could have maybe done it a while ago, but I think I’m better off for waiting. I’ve had a bit more life experience, and business experience.

“And with Warren [Barker] stepping down, it’s a good time to step in and take things to another level.”

How to do that has been on Mr Martin’s mind for a while now, and a recent family holiday to the United States served equally as a research trip, visiting theme parks to see what ideas he could bring back to Timaru.

“They had a lot of the same, but there were some differences, different rules, prize structures, and a lot of things were just brighter – colours, sound, lights.”

“We do some stuff pretty good, and we’ve got to keep doing that, but we have some areas that we need to improve. Some of it is obvious, some of it we’ve got to do a bit of homework.

“And we need to grow .. we put in heaps of effort between the AGM [in May] and the carnival, and now we need to knuckle down after the carnival and do some long-term planning.

“Overall, it does work. We’re always going to have another carnival, but we want to grow, and be bigger and better. You’ve got to be a wee bit ambitious.”

Mr Martin said the association often copped criticism, and he believed the committee needed to pay attention to that, and take what it could from it.

A priority for the committee this year would be looking at how to attract new volunteers, and given the time of the year the carnival operated, that was always a challenge.

“We need to involve the community a bit more .. it is a tricky time of the year, but it’s a community event.”

Mr Martin is elected for a one-year term, but is hoping he will be in the role for longer than that.

“You’ve got to do enough in that first year to get enough people voting for you next time around.”