New resident running town theatre and changing Wairoa's reputation

Thursday 1 Dec 2016 7:52 p.m.

When you think of Wairoa, the small town between Gisborne and Napier, you probably picture gangs, crime and drugs.

Given the media coverage which tends to focus on those things, it's understandable.

But the town is changing dramatically and it's thanks to one new resident.

Zach Stark is part British, part American and now he's a born again local running the town's theatre.

He heard there was a manager position going at the theatre so applied and got the job. The old Geity Theatre now has a new sound system which is one of only two in the world. One in Wairoa and the other in Vietnam.

His love affair with the town began and he has made it his mission to help turn perceptions of the town around.

"A full on blessing. We've never had anyone like Zach turn up and open not only doors but opportunities," says former gang member and local Ratima Hauraki.

Story went to meet Mr Stark to find out why he's chosen Wairoa of all the places in the world.

Watch the video for the full Story report.