News and Notices

Be Bright, Be Visible, Be Seen on Taranaki Roads 24 April 2017 As the daylight hours become shorter, all road users are reminded to look twice for safety and make sure they are seen as winter sets in.  The Be Seen campaign is a region-wide effort to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and other road users. “As an avid mountain biker with my family, there are simple steps that people can take make it easier for others to see them on the road and to be certain that your way is clear while you’re travelling,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. “Using lights and hi-viz clothing makes people so much easier to spot during winter. Also, if you get into the habit of looking twice before stepping onto a road or while you’re driving, you’re more likely to see people or vehicles that are harder to see when the sun goes down.” To promote the importance of being seen, checkpoints will be on the Coastal Walkway this Wednesday (26 April) evening, manned by the Mayor, MP for New Plymouth Jonathan Young and Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) General Manager Rob Jager.  All walkers, runners and riders who wear bright, reflective clothing or have lights will be rewarded with chocolate, and there will be reflective armbands, backpack covers and bike lights handed out to those who don’t have them. Says Jonathan Young: “As a regular cyclist on our Coastal Walkway, I understand the importance of care in using this shared space with other cyclists and walkers. “Easily being seen is very much part of the etiquette that will ensure the ongoing enjoyment of such a wonderful shared space, especially as the darker winter days are nearly upon us.” Be Seen is part of the ‘What are you Missing?’ road education programme. Its key points are: Wearing bright colours when out walking and riding could be the difference between being seen or not. Never assume you have been seen. Look twice: when you quickly scan the road your brain picks up only what it is expecting to see, so take a second look. Look and think ahead when driving. If you’re about to come into some sunstrike or a section of shading, you might not see a child waiting at a pedestrian crossing or a cyclist heading up the hill into the light. Be Seen is a region-wide collaboration between Roadsafe Taranaki, New Plymouth Police, NPiS, STOS and New Plymouth District Council. Council's Innovation and Excellence Leads to National Award 24 April 2017 An on-going project to improve knowledge about cultural heritage sites in New Plymouth District has resulted in a national award. New Plymouth District Council has won the Innovation in Policy and Regulatory Development Category of the SOLGM Excellence Awards for its work alongside iwi and hapu in identifying the locations and the importance of waahi tapu sites. The judges particularly praised how the Council collaborated with iwi and hapu, and the smart use of GIS technology. The development of a GIS viewer has allowed iwi, hapu and the Council to share information to support the project.  “There was a lot of interest from other councils who haven’t gone to this depth working with iwi and hapu, and their waahi tapu information,” says NPDC Acting Chief Executive Alan Bird. “It’s often an issue for councils to firstly build a meaningful relationship with tangata whenua and secondly to back it up with a good, reliable system that iwi and hapu can use for recording the sites’ histories and helping with their response to resource consent applications.” The review of waahi tapu and archaeological sites, which started in 2007, was necessary for the Council to meet its statutory obligations as the location of many sites were not exact. The review means the Council and tangata whenua have accurate information about these sites, and resource consents for developments will be assessed with greater accuracy and provide more certainty for developers and the community. A short video about the project is here. Also at the awards, NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford was a finalist in the Young Leaders Award, receiving a Highly Commended citation.  The Society for Local Government Managers (SOLGM) is a national organisation for local government professionals. It promotes innovation and excellence in management practice and develops the sector’s capability to enhance service delivery to local communities. Temporary road closure Chiefs v Reds Super Rugby Match 21 April 2017 TEMPORARY ROAD CLOSURE:MARATAHU STREET,NEW PLYMOUTH In accordance with the tenth schedule of the Local Government Act 1974, the following road/s will be closed to ordinary vehicular traffic to enable New Plymouth District Council to hold the Chiefs v Reds Super Rugby Match at Yarrow Stadium. Date and period of closure: from 3:30pm to 10pm on Saturday 6 May. Roads to be closed: Maratahu Street from Tukapa Street to 3m west of Yarrow Stadium’s main vehicle entrance (adjacent to the Maara Tahu Centre). Temporary traffic controls to be in place during the above road closure: P2 drop-off parking zone on the south side of Tukapa Street from 31 Tukapa Street east to Maratahu Street. Bus parking only around the perimeter of Sanders Park on Wallace Place and Cutfield and Gladstone roads. Emergency vehicles will have unrestricted access at all times. In all other situations necessitating the use of the road, contact must be made with the Traffic Management coordinators on-site, on the day. The road may be reopened at an earlier time as decided by the organisers upon removal of all road closure signs and barriers at the venue. The roads will then be open to normal vehicle traffic and normal traffic regulations will apply. Request for Road Closure: Rifle Range Street Sprint 20 April 2017 The Taranaki Car Club has requested the closure of the following roads to conduct a motorsport event - the Rifle Range Street Sprint. The application is being considered under schedule 10 of the Local Government Act 1974. Please send objections about the closures to us by 4pm on Monday 15 May. Submissions must be made on the road closure form or by contacting us on 06-759 6060 or enquiries@npdc.govt.nz Date and period of closure: from 6pm to 10pm on Saturday 1 July. Roads to be closed: Rifle Range Road. Vickers Road. Constance Street from Rifle Range Road to Burton Street. Smart Road for 50m from the intersection with Rifle Range Road. Struthers Place. Please note: the roads could reopen earlier than advertised. PUNJAB GRILL Application 11 April 2017 GHNGOBIND LIMITED of 101 Devon Street East NEW PLYMOUTH 4310 has made an application to the New Plymouth District Licensing Committee for the grant of a New On Licence for the premises situated at 101 Devon Street East NEW PLYMOUTH 4310 known as PUNJAB GRILL. The general nature of the business conducted (or to be conducted) under the licence is a Restaurant - Class 3 On Licence. Days and Hours: Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 1am the following day You may also inspect the application at the New Plymouth District Council, Liardet Street, New Plymouth. If you would like to object to the application, in accordance with the Act, please write to us within 15 working days of this notice to District Licensing Committee at Private Bag 2025, New Plymouth 4342. This publication was made on 11 April 2017 New Plymouth Welcomes the Navy's Largest Ever Ship 10 April 2017 New Plymouth District Council is welcoming the Navy’s decision to name New Plymouth as the home port of its replacement fleet tanker, HMNZS Aotearoa. The $493million HMNZS Aotearoa will be the biggest and most high-tech ship the Royal New Zealand Navy have ever operated when it replaces HMNZS Endeavour in 2020. Mayor Neil Holdom says its fantastic news for the region and the ship having a Taranaki base is good for the local economy. “We’re delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with the Navy; a natural fit with Taranaki being New Zealand’s energy centre and a good opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to Kiwi service men and women who do us proud both domestically and internationally. But more importantly, we’ve had a long and proud relationship with HMNZS Endeavour and I’m pleased that this will continue with HMNZS Aotearoa - even though we had to get the tape measure out to see if it would fit!” HMNZS Aotearoa will offer more than just a fleet fuelling service. It will support combat operations and training missions, and deliver humanitarian aid and disaster relief when called upon. It will also provide an important Antarctic support capability to assist with Southern Ocean monitoring. Proposed District Plan Change 08 April 2017 New Plymouth District Council has prepared Plan Change PLC17/00047: Minor Amendments to Area Q Structure Plan Area to the New Plymouth District Plan in accordance with Clause 5 of Schedule 1, Resource Management Act 1991. Plan Change PLC17/00047 proposes to enable some residential development in Stage 2 of Area Q in a timely manner by changing the prohibited activity status that applies to access from Stage 2 to Airport Drive. Plan Change 47 report Plan Change 47 Section 32 report Online submission form Any person may make a submission on the plan change proposed. Submissions must be in writing and be in the manner prescribed in Form 5 of the Resource Management (Forms, Fees and Procedure) Regulations 2003. Please send submissions to New Plymouth District Council, Private Bag 2025, New Plymouth 4342, Attention: District Planning Team. The closing date for receiving submissions is 5pm on Friday 12 May 2017. The submissions received will be summarised by the Council and publicly notified for further submissions in support or opposition. If requested by any submitter, the Council will hold a hearing on the submissions received. Anyone making a submission will have the right to be heard by the Council and will have the right to appeal any decision made by the Council, in respect to their submission, to the Environment Court. Alan Bird ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE 8 April 2017 Council Funding Will Help Protect Regionally Significant Forest 07 April 2017 A large section of remnant wetland rainforest on the border of Egmont National Park will be protected with fencing, thanks to funding from New Plymouth District Council. At yesterday’s (Thursday) meeting of NPDC’s Community Funding Investment Subcommittee, $21,400 of funding was approved for the site at the end of Alfred Road. The land will be protected under a QEII covenant and will broaden the biodiversity of both the national park and the region says NZ Native Forest Restoration Trust Chair Tim Oliver. “This land is one of two or three tongues of lowland forest coming out of the national park’s circumference,” he says. “Back in 1986 it was recognised as one of 13 category one pieces of bush within Taranaki, and it was the only regionally significant unprotected forest on lahar deposits. “Also, there’s more swamp maire in this wetland than I’ve seen around half the North Island during the last 25 years. “New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Regional Council and the Queen Elizabeth II Trust have been very helpful to us in our efforts to protect this land – as has the former owner Greg Clement, who agreed to sell it to the trust for its protection.” The wetland forest covers 130ha between Kaiauai Stream and the Waiwhakaiho River. The new fencing will prevent grazing stock from getting into the forest for browsing. NPDC Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts says protecting the wetland forest is a big step forward in retaining biodiversity on the ring plain. “It’s taken years of collaboration by many organisations and people to get to this point, and it’s really satisfying to have played a part in protecting a regionally significant piece of remnant forest wetland for the benefit of future generations,” he says. “Enhanced biodiversity in our region is not only positive for the natural environment and clean water, but it will also have significant cultural and economic spin-offs.” One of the eight key directions of NPDC’s 30-year District Blueprint is to enhance the natural environment with biodiversity links. Swamp maire forest once covered 200,000ha in the Egmont Ecological District. It now covers less than two per cent of its former area. New Plymouth Airport Asset Transfer from Central to Local Government in the Pipeline 05 April 2017 The Government and New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) have agreed in principle to transfer New Plymouth Airport to local government ownership. The Crown will transfer its 50 per cent stake in New Plymouth Airport to its joint venture partner, the Council, after they expressed interest in full ownership of the airport.  This was approved at a Council meeting last night (TUESDAY). New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom says the Council is currently responsible for daily operations at the airport and it makes sense for NPDC to have full ownership. “Local ownership will provide some real opportunities to keep the tills ringing and maximise regional economic growth,” he says. “The airport is a strategic asset, the gateway to our region and pivotal to us becoming a world-class destination.” A larger airport terminal that shares the unique Taranaki story is being planned by NPDC, to be funded by increased airport revenue. The original terminal was built in 1967 to cater for approximately 50,000 passengers per year and today’s annual passenger numbers are about 420,000.  The transfer deed, once signed by the Council and the Crown, will take effect in the next few months. Public Warned of Cat Stevens Tickets on Resale Sites 05 April 2017 New Plymouth District Council is urging the public to steer clear of ticket resale sites when purchasing tickets to Yusuf/Cat Stevens at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in December.  Tickets had already gone up on global ticketing site Viagogo at phenomenal prices, following a Cat Stevens Fan Club pre-sale opportunity on Monday 3 April. NPDC Venues and Events Manager Ron Murray says it is a timely reminder for the public to stay away from sites such as Viagogo when purchasing tickets.  “We saw it recently with the Adele concert, in that people ran into trouble for having either invalid tickets, or tickets that weren’t actually in the seating they had paid top dollar for. The risk with buying from these sites is that you’re forking out a lot more money without having any idea whether your ticket is valid or not.” Viagogo was showing General Admission tickets for sale yesterday at more than $650. The TSB Bowl of Brooklands, TSB Stadium Yarrow Stadium and the TSB Showplace all fall under the New Plymouth Event Venues umbrella and contract Ticketek to provide all ticketing services. “We encourage all those buying tickets to Cat Stevens, and other events at our venues, to purchase from either the TSB Showplace Box Office, South Taranaki i-SITE, Stratford i-SITE, or online through Ticketek. That way, they will avoid any risk of running into trouble at the event,” says Mr Murray. “Often the venue and show promotor are not obliged to honour tickets that aren’t valid, nor are they in a position to assist with refunds or providing alternative options, particularly if the event is sold out. We want to try and eliminate any of our community members having to deal with that sort of unpleasant experience.” General public on-sale for Yusuf/Cat Stevens at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands on 16 December will be available from 10am today (Wednesday). Weather Bomb to Hit New Plymouth District 04 April 2017 The wild weather is coming! The heaviest rainfall is due to start tonight (Tuesday) and if you see any ponding at your property, on a nearby road or in a public reserve tomorrow, we’d really appreciate it if you would take a photo of it and email it to us with the date and time it was taken and the exact location of the ponding. This information will help us improve our stormwater modelling across the district by better understanding the problem areas and where we can make improvements. Related links Taranaki Emergency Management (Civil Defence) MetService COFFEE and Limited Application 04 April 2017 Sale and Supply of Alcohol 2012 Yusuf/Cat Stevens Riding Peace Train to the Bowl 30 March 2017 He told us to take our time, think a lot, and think of everything we’ve got – and now we’ve got the man himself. Legendary folk, pop and rock singer-songwriter Yusuf, formerly known as Cat Stevens, is heading to the TSB Bowl of Brooklands this summer and will perform on Saturday 16 December. His A Cat’s Attic Peace Train Tour is set to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his first major hit single Matthew & Son, released in 1967. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, Yusuf has been heard by millions of people world-wide through hits such as Peace Train, Father and Son, First Cut is the Deepest, Moonshadow and Wild World. This will mark his second visit to New Zealand, having previously played two sold-out concerts in 2010. New Plymouth District Council Venues Lead, Nelita Byrne, said it was exciting to have such a well-known, international performer lined up for the Bowl. “The enticing thing about Yusuf is that he has so many hits we all know and love, but he also has a very interesting story that comes with it. Through his transition from pop-star, to the educational, religious and charity work he conducted, he then found his way back to music which is a very unique journey. “We know that his story and personality, his music and the iconic setting of the Bowl will make it a fantastic night out for people of all ages.” The concert will coincide with the first night of the TSB Bank Festival of Lights, giving people the opportunity to experience a first look at the new season following a night at the Bowl. New Plymouth District Mayor, Neil Holdom, said Yusuf/Cat Stevens is a legend of the music world and was delighted he would be coming to the Bowl. “We’re looking forward to giving visitors from around New Zealand and the globe a warm welcome from the second best region in the world to visit. Securing such a high class act has taken a lot of hard work by the council team, competing against other venues around New Zealand, so it’s a real achievement. “This is one concert that shouldn’t be missed and I expect the fans will be snapping up tickets as soon as they go on sale.” While Yusuf’s career sky-rocketed in the early 70s, a life-changing event saw him embrace the Islamic culture where he walked away from music and fame, gave his guitars to charity and threw himself into humanitarian work. His efforts saw him receive a number of international peace and social awards. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when Yusuf began to embrace music again, releasing two new albums and touring the United Kingdom (2009), Australia (2010) and Europe (2011). Through his recent music he has returned to the roots of his teenage inspiration, rhythm and blues, creating songs that recall the spirit of his earliest days as a singer-songwriter in London. Coming to New Zealand in association with TEG Dainty and Live Nation, Yusuf will play in Auckland, before coming to New Plymouth and then moving on to Christchurch. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10am on Wednesday 5 April and can be purchased at the TSB Showplace Box Office, or online at www.ticketek.co.nz. A limited allocation of early bird general admission tickets will be available at $99.90. For those who don’t want to miss out on early bird tickets, they can sign up to the NP Event Venues database at npeventvenues.nz for a pre-sale opportunity on Tuesday 4 April. Unique Taranaki Terminal Recommended for New Plymouth Airport at No Cost to Ratepayers 24 March 2017 A larger airport that shares our unique Taranaki story is being planned by New Plymouth District Council, to be funded by increased airport revenue. The original terminal was built in 1967 to cater for approximately 50,000 passengers per year and today’s passenger numbers are more like 420,000.  This week, NPDC’s Audit and Risk Committee recommended that the terminal’s footprint be enlarged from 1,430m2 to 4,092m2, following talks with commercial tenants who are expecting an increase in passengers numbers in the years ahead.  “After ongoing engagement and modelling, this larger terminal will meet commercial trends and will be paid for by increased airport revenue. It will be double the current size and also promote our cultural history, which has been developed with Puketapu Hapu as part of the Project Team,” says NPDC Chief Financial Officer Alan Bird. The price of the larger terminal is estimated to be between $21.7 million and $28.7m. “The terminal redevelopment is a commercial project that will be paid for by the users of the airport through airline landing charges, tenant rents and car parking fees – no money will be coming from rates,” says Mr Bird. An earlier and smaller design was costed at $19.3 million. This updated costing allows for potential building material cost increases during construction, the additional floor area and the inclusion of sustainability elements into the design. New Plymouth Airport is the fourth-busiest regional airport in the country and is the gateway to our region, supporting tourism and economic development. The new design came after in-depth passenger modelling as well as consultation with iwi, Puketapu Hapu, Air New Zealand, Jetstar, the Civil Aviation Authority and the owners of Airpresso café. The elected members of New Plymouth District Council will consider this approach at a Council meeting on 4 April and then public consultation will take place, as part of the Annual Plan or 2017/18 budget process. New Addition to Brooklands Zoo's Capuchin Troop 24 March 2017 Brooklands Zoo has welcomed a baby monkey to its capuchin troop, as part of an international breeding programme. The baby was born to Dixie in the early hours of Monday (20 March) morning. NPDC Brooklands Zoo Coordinator Eve Cozzi says Dixie is being a protective mother but visitors should be able to get a look at the two together. “We’ve been observing them from a distance – Dixie is an experienced mum and she knows what to do,” says Ms Cozzi. The gender of the baby will not be known until it is older. The zoo plans to hold a public vote between three unisex names for the infant. “Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the ‘name the baby’ poll, which we’ll put up in a week or two,” she says. Boo, the father, was born at Brooklands Zoo in 2001 while Dixie was transferred here from Hamilton Zoo in 2008. Brooklands Zoo is a participant in a managed breeding programme for capuchins through the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA). This infant is the outcome of a recommended paired breeding and is beneficial for the Australasian programme. Brooklands Zoo reopened to the public this morning (FRIDAY) after the pack-out of WOMAD from Brooklands Park was completed. Let's Love Our Trees says New Plymouth District Council 14 March 2017 New Plymouth District Council is urging the community to look after public trees, after another case of a pohutukawa tree alongside the Coastal Walkway at East End Beach being illegally cut during the last week. Periodically over the last five years, trees in the coastal area between East End and Fitzroy have been haphazardly interfered with and the Council is urging members of the public to instead get in touch if a Council tree is affecting their property. “Someone has used a handsaw and butchered this pohutukawa at East End Beach, cutting off several metres of branches and leaving them on the ground,” says NPDC Manager Parks and Open Spaces Stuart Robertson. “They’re probably trying to improve their view of the sea but what they’ve done instead is encourage the tree to bush out, be an even bigger visual nuisance and harder to maintain.  “By leaving the trees alone, they grow up and our arborists will trim them properly so that eventually people can see through the tree trunks to the sea.” Mr Robertson says there has been a spate of illegal prunings and poisonings lately, including behind Lynmouth Park and Findlay Street. “These trees are on public land are used for shade, wind protection and landscaping,” he says. Looking after the environment is part of NPDC’s District Blueprint (30-year plan), and the recent Lonely Planet accolade that names highlights Taranaki as the 2nd-best region in the world to visit, mentioned the beauty of our coast. “These incidents make it harder for us to maintain this high standard,” says Mr Robertson. Local Firms Shine in Love to Ride 08 March 2017 A nationwide bicycling challenge has ended with two Taranaki organisations among the leaders for the most kilometres travelled during February. Eagars Funerals were first in the national 3-6 Staff Category of Love to Ride, while New Plymouth District Council was third in the national 500+ Staff Category. NPDC Integrated Transport Coordinator Liz Beck says Love to Ride was designed to encourage people to start a new biking habit. “It was a fun way to get people onto their bikes for leisure or commuting with the support of colleagues, and see how easy it is to travel by bike,” she says. “What’s really great is the number of people who hadn’t bicycled for a year or more who took part. “In Taranaki alone there were 46 organisations registered with Love to Ride and more than 700 participants – about 215 of whom hadn’t been on a bike for at a least a year.” Eagars Funerals Managing Director Casey Martin says a big plus about Love to Ride was that the challenge did not involve riding hard or being the fastest cyclist. “It certainly made my husband and I go out with our children on our bikes, and encouraged us to do little journeys as well as longer ones out to the port or Te Rewa Rewa Bridge,” she says. “For us, it became a bit of a routine. “The staff at Eagars had a lot of fun. We have one staff member who did more riding than the rest of us put together, and if she hadn’t gone on holiday we would have done better!” The competition also had a regional category, with the following results: 500+ Staff: 1st New Plymouth District Council, 2nd Taranaki District Health Board. 200-499 Staff: 1st Mckechnie Aluminium, 2nd Shell Todd Oil Services, 3rd Powerco Limited. 50-199 Staff: 1st Tui Ora, 2nd Sacred Heart Girls’ College, 3rd BTW Company. 20-49 Staff: 1st Sport Taranaki, 2nd Opus International Consultants, 3rd Zelam Limited. 7-19 Staff: 1st Core Group Ltd, 2nd Venture Taranaki, 3rd Hardy Packaging. 3-6 Staff: 1st Eagars Funerals, 2nd Brake & Clutch Rebuilders 2015 Ltd, 3rd Riddlez Interactive. Through the Let’s Go programme, the Council encourages more people into active and sustainable travel such as bicycling. Let’s Go is an NPDC and NZTA funded programme that aims to develop New Plymouth into a model walking and cycling community. Easter Sunday Trading Policy Approved 06 March 2017 New Plymouth District Council has approved a policy that will enable shops in the district to open on Easter Sunday. The decision, made at today’s extraordinary Council meeting, gives businesses throughout the district the option to open or remain closed on the day. The Government has given councils the authority to decide whether or not shop trading on Easter Sunday will be allowed in their areas. NPDC’s decision will enable shops to open this Easter. Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy New Plymouth District Council Chief Executive Resigns to Take Up New Role in Wellington 03 March 2017 New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) Chief Executive Barbara Mckerrow has resigned to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer at Wellington City Council. Mrs McKerrow, who has been the NPDC Chief Executive for nine years and has held a range of other management roles within the Council over the past 31 years, will move into her new position in the coming months. New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom paid tribute to Mrs McKerrow and acknowledged her years of service to the district. “It’s with mixed emotions that we announce Barbara’s resignation. We will be sad to see her move on, having been a strong and visionary leader in the district, but we are also pleased for Barbara,” says the Mayor. “This new opportunity is clearly something she is excited about and New Plymouth’s loss is Wellington’s gain. We all wish her every success. “Barbara has made a significant and positive difference in our community. Barbara is a person with the clarity and courage to articulate a vision and the strength of character to go out and make things happen to achieve that vision.” NPDC has developed a transitional plan to appoint an acting Chief Executive and recruit a replacement for Mrs McKerrow, Mr Holdom says. “I will be making a recommendation to the full Council next week that we appoint our current CFO Alan Bird to the role of Acting Chief Executive. I will also be asking the Council to approve the proposed process to identify and recruit a new permanent Chief Executive for the organisation.” Mrs McKerrow, who grew up in New Plymouth, says it has been a privilege to be the CE of NPDC. She started her career in the libraries, moving through a variety of roles including District Librarian, the first Puke Ariki Manager, then Community Services Manager and the General Manager Customer Services.  “As a person who calls New Plymouth home, it’s been a pleasure to serve our community as the Council’s CE. “While I love my role here, I have learned a great deal as a leader and now wish to utilise those skills in a larger role, where I can experience new challenges. I have seen our community evolve over my time from a quiet provincial centre to New Zealand’s top town and Lonely Planet’s second-best region to visit in the world in 2017,” she says. “Memorable projects that I have played a strong leadership role in, include Puke Ariki and the Len Lye Centre, and it’s been wonderful to see how our growing arts and culture offering has helped to create these international accolades and economic prosperity. “What I am most proud of is the 500 staff at NPDC and the way in which we are serving our community by being a committed, agile organisation with strong leadership which is future-focused.” Mrs McKerrow is in her third term as the President of Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM) and has represented the country at international local government conferences. Merrilands Domain to Become a Magical Park 02 March 2017 Fairies, kittens and dinosaurs will be running around Merrilands Domain from March 4-12 and it’s up to our tech-savvy kids to track them down. As part of Parks Week 2017, New Plymouth District Council is turning Audrey Gale Reserve within the domain into a magical, virtual world where local kids can be part of the world’s first digital playground. Run through smartphones or tablets, the Magical Park app is aimed at six to 11-year-olds and designed to encourage the use of urban parks, along with promoting physical activity. Kids will be able to choose from two games that augment the real-world field of view with visuals on their device, turning the park into a fantasy world where the aim is to collect eggs while avoiding dinosaurs, or gather kittens without being caught by the bad fairy.  NPDC Parks and Open Spaces Manager Stuart Robertson says the reserve would be the only park in the region offering the Magical Park game. “We see the initiative as an exciting and interactive way to provide our community with a great opportunity to learn, exercise and have plenty of fun at one of our picturesque park venues,” he says. “We know this is going to be a lot of fun for the kids – and possibly a few adults – and we look forward to seeing the fairies and dinosaurs come to life in our own back yard.” Developed by Geo AR Games, safety was a key focus when developing the app and deciding which parks would be suitable to host the game. Each park has been vetted to ensure a positive play environment, while the app is geo-fenced – meaning as soon as a child leaves the pre-set boundary of the game, the content will disappear.  The New Zealand Recreation Association has been behind the push of the app into New Zealand, and Chief Executive Andrew Leslie said he was looking forward to seeing Magical Parks springing up around the country during Parks Week. “We believe combining outdoor play with technology can motivate kids to get off the couch and be more physically active.  More… “We can’t reverse technology or progress, nor should we try. What we can do is create healthy relationships with technology by using the screen to get kids outdoors and moving around.” The app is free to download, uses little data and is compatible with Android devices, iPhone 5 or newer and iPad 3. It will go live on Saturday 4 March and be available until Sunday 12 March.  For an example of what will be seen at Audrey Gale Reserve, check out the video here.
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