News and Notices

Ice skating to take center stage in city this winter, says NPDC 31 May 2018 NPDC’s “See it in the City” has a feast of events to keep New Plymouth’s city centre buzzing over the cold winter days and nights. NPDC Councillor Shaun Biesiek says the “See it in the City” Ice Skating rink will open on 28 June and runs until 15 July. “We've got an exciting line up of family friendly entertainment to keep everyone warm this winter, funded from car parking revenue. The state of the art, eco-friendly rink at Egmont carpark is housed in a marquee of lights and features an upbeat sound system. We’ve also got the first ever restaurant week and the Right Royal Cabaret Festival,” says Councillor Biesiek. FEASTival starts on 5 June and is the first time the region has had a restaurant week to promote cafes and eateries. “See it in the City” is a founding sponsor for the event which promises unique mouth-watering menus from $20 per person. FEASTival creator Rachel Church thanked See it in the City for its help, support and funds to get the event off the ground and says she is delighted to be supporting the On The House charity through the Feast for All event next Thursday. “To create an event that helps such a wonderful charity in our first year is really meaningful to me,” says Ms Church. NPDC’s parks team has put seasonal vegetables in six planters and will put these in the CBD when FEASTival starts on Tuesday. These will then be given to On The House to distribute to families. NPDC’s “See it in the City” has also helped to fund the Right Royal Cabaret Festival which runs from 28 June to 1 July. The event, organised by TAFT, promises to be a wild weekend of cabaret, comedy and burlesque. NPDC’s “See it in the City” was set up in 2017 to boost New Plymouth’s city centre and has organised a number of fantastic free events, including a market day, the taste of the NZ Tattoo & Art Festival, the Waitangi Day celebrations, Americarnival, Velo Deus 20, Escapefest, Newtopia Multimedia Festival and Shape & Sounds. For more information, head to See it in the City’s Facebook page. Facelift for famous Taranaki photo spot 29 May 2018 The deck on the Main Lake in NPDC’s Pukekura Park will be extended to enhance the awesome views towards Mount Taranaki. The work is part of a NPDC project to upgrade the landscaping between the Tea House On The Lake and the lake and will include a gazebo for shaded seating, new planters, the levelling of the tiled area and footpaths that are safer and easier to use. “This facelift will mean an even better experience for the 470,000 people who flock to NPDC’s free Pukekura Park each year, including the 130,000 who come for the annual TSB Festival of Lights. New Plymouth’s founders had the foresight to create such a fantastic project in 1876 and a great recreational hub for locals and visitors alike,” says Jacqueline Baker, NPDC External Relations Manager.  The public may notice work in the area and NPDC thanks visitors in advance for their patience. The work programme is expected to be finished by the spring. Pukekura Park has flown the Green Flag, the international mark of a quality park, for five years running. Experts assess a park for a Green Flag award using eight criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, community involvement and providing a warm welcome.  The Tea House On The Lake, which opened in 1931, will remain unchanged.  Storms, rats and bad odours: Experience the 1840s journey to New Plymouth with NPDC's Puke Ariki 25 May 2018 Storms, rats and bad odours: Experience the 1840s journey from England to New Plymouth with NPDC’s Puke Ariki The sights, sounds and smells – dirty linen and vomit included – of the voyages of the first organised Pākehā settlers to New Plymouth are being brought to life in a new exhibition by NPDC’s Puke Ariki. The Plymouth Company exhibit, opening soon in the Taranaki Life Gallery, has taken two years of planning to put together and captures what it was like to make the long sea journey from England to New Zealand/Aotearoa. “The attention to detail put into the exhibition by our team of curators is just amazing,” says Puke Ariki Manager Kelvin Day. “We’re trying to tell the story of what that voyage was like for the 1000 or so settlers who came over from Devon and Cornwall to a new life in Taranaki. “What I love about this exhibit is it has given us the chance to experiment with new ideas and introduce new technology while working with experts from Taranaki, New Zealand and across the globe.” Some of the innovative ideas and displays in the exhibit include: Visitors will get the chance to sample some voyage smells via an interactive display. The odour experience will include rope and tar, dirty linen, musty and vomit sourced from AromaPrime in the UK. Taranaki videographer Keith Finnerty filmed rats which will be projected onto the floor – plagues of rats were a major problem for the settlers. And the rats had to be trained in Wellington to run in the right direction! Staff sailed on the R. Tucker Thompson in the Bay of Islands to recreate the movement of a sailing vessel. An Auckland company has replicated the meals the Pākehā settlers would have ‘enjoyed’, complete with a pewter dinner plate. The exhibit includes many artefacts from the Puke Ariki collection, including items brought over by the settlers such as a 200-year-old doll. Also on show is an enlarged copy of a significant artwork, housed in Germany, that shows the Ngāmotu foreshore in 1841. The settlers gave up everything for the chance of a new life, often driven by desperation and poverty as well as the promise of new opportunities away from England’s rigid class structure. The journey took months and the first brave souls who set off in 1840 faced storms, sickness and death. The William Bryan arrived at Ngāmotu on 31 March 1841, bringing 134 Britons who would lay the foundations for New Plymouth in a new land amongst Māori. A further five ships followed over several years. Plymouth Company fact file: To get free passage (free tickets) steerage passengers on the ships had to be vaccinated against smallpox and to provide ‘the most satisfactory testimonials as to their qualifications, character and health’. Rats ran riot in New Plymouth during the first years of the settlement. When the rodents swarmed people waged war on them using gin traps, snares and poison. Settler Josiah Flight recorded personal kills in his diary. His highest daily tally was 58. Once they settled in New Plymouth women began marrying earlier than in England, with nearly half married before they were 20. The new generation had a birth rate of an average of 10.4 children, rather than their mother’s average of 8.3. Puke Ariki fact file: It opened on 15 June 2003. It is the world’s first purpose-built, integrated museum, library and visitor information centre. Puke Ariki has three long-term galleries (Takapou Whāriki, Taranaki Naturally and the Taranaki Life) and components of these get changed out regularly. The temporary exhibition space shows touring exhibitions that are either curated in-house or brought in from other museums. Te Pua Wānanga o Taranaki/Taranaki Research Centre is also housed at the site. Sidebar: Visitors to the Thompson’s Hut can take a step back in history as the revamped attraction opens its door for the first time ever at NPDC’s Puke Ariki. The hut, which was built around 1920 and gifted to the museum in 1977, has had a makeover to create an interactive experience on what life was like in Taranaki in the 1930s. Situated in the Taranaki Life Gallery, visitors had previously only been able to stand at the entrance to check out the interior but the hut has now been opened up to the public. The refreshed interior includes a digital projection photo album. This interactive display allows visitors to read about local people and their stories. The hut also includes replicas of 1930s furniture built in-house by Puke Ariki staff based on items in the collection. The hut is made from tōtara and was built as a station-hand’s quarters on Bill Thompson’s farm in Tāhora. Caption: Puke Ariki exhibitions installer Tamara Lewis working on The Plymouth Company exhibit. Your district needs you - Join the NPDC emergency response team 21 May 2018 If you can keep your head in an emergency, NPDC wants you to join its response team. Volunteers are being sought to be part of NPDC’s emergency operations centre (EOC) which responds to emergencies like cyclones and floods and coordinates recovery programmes. “We saw after ex-Cyclone Gita just how well our community works together during a crisis, and we expect a lot of people will put their hand up to be involved in the new EOC,” says NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright. “We’d like to hear from anyone who’s keen to help out during an emergency. You don’t need emergency experience to volunteer – we’ll train you. “We know that an emergency can happen at any time so let’s get ready for the next one.” From 1 July, the emergency response in Taranaki will be managed by the relevant local council. The Taranaki Emergency Management Office (TEMO) will have a region-wide coordinating role, if required. To volunteer, fill in the form on the Civil Defence page at newplymouthnz.com or contact NPDC on 06-759 6060 or enquiries@npdc.govt.nz. Bumper crowds and a $5 million boost to the economy: NPDC's TSB Festival of Lights shines even brighter 17 May 2018 Bumper crowds and a $5 million boost to the economy: NPDC’s TSB Festival of Lights shines even brighter A 20% rise in visitors from outside the region, a 95-year-old volunteer and two wedding proposals; this season’s NPDC-run TSB Festival of Lights dazzled. New figures from Venture Taranaki (VT) show a big rise in visitors coming to the region for the event from 7,845 in 2016/2017 to nearly 9,600 this season. The research shows the value added to the regional economy jumped from $4.6million to $5million. “Around $5million added to our economy and 9,600 outside visitors shows what a huge drawcard the TSB Festival of Lights is. This amazing free community event brings out people from all walks of life; locals, visitors from across Taranaki and New Zealand all enjoying this visual symphony funded by NPDC,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. The research on the festival, which last season ran from 16 December to 5 February in New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park, also found that 95.8% of people were either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their experience at the festival. “The festival is a much-loved and long running event that adds to the experiences on offer to our tourism market, which grew 6% overall during the year to the end of February,” says VT’s General Manager Marketing Vicki Fairley. “We are delighted to see international guest nights up by 28% over the same period. Attractions and events such as Pukekura Park and the TSB Festival of Lights help to ensure Taranaki remains a fantastic place to visit.” Festival facts The lighting route is 3.5 kilometres of walkways through Pukekura Park. The TSB tunnel of Light on Poet’s Bridge this season includes 1000 LED light points and more than 150 hours of design and development time. The lights are on for about 50 nights. More than 20 staff and volunteers work behind the scenes each night at the festival. It takes about six weeks to install all the lights and cabling through the park for the festival. Highlights from this season’s festival included: A new Summer Seniors programme for older folk. Glow Yoga packing out the Fred Parker Lawn. Seven winners getting to put their names in lights over Poet’s Bridge. Two wedding proposals, including one written in lights. 95-year-old Dorothy Anderson doing her bit as a volunteer. A trans-Tasman friendship at NPDC's Brooklands Zoo 16 May 2018 The newest resident at NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo has faced a tougher vetting test than most new housemates, including a trip across the Tasman. Three-year-old otter Takumi took more than a month to get from Mogo Zoo, in New South Wales, to New Plymouth’s free-entry zoo which is home to a diverse range of species from farm animals, to reptiles to amphibians. NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo brought Takumi in from Australia because no New Zealand zoos had any spare otters. On the way he had about four weeks in quarantine before leaving Australia and another four weeks in quarantine at Auckland Zoo before flying to NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo which is visited by 113,000 people each year. Then he had to be weaned gradually into his new surroundings while getting to know his new companion, Jemima. “It was certainly a long journey for him but he went first-class for otters all the way and he’s adapted wonderfully. He’s full of energy, gets on great with his new playmate Jemima and he’s made a splash with visitors,” says NPDC External Relations Manager Jacqueline Baker. The introduction to Jemima, who’s been at Brooklands Zoo for four years, was a private affair out of the public eye. It started with scent swapping between enclosures before they graduated to meeting each other through a mesh fence, and, after a couple of weeks, sharing an enclosure. “Otters are social animals so it was important the relationship began on the right footing and now they’ve bonded well,” says Ms Baker. Jemima, 15, has been living alone since her previous companion, Jala, died in April last year. NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo, which opened in 1965, works with partner zoos in Australia and New Zealand to select new animals. Green-fingered kids help preserve sand dunes 10 May 2018 New Plymouth District schoolkids are doubling their efforts to curb erosion with a bumper NPDC coastal planting programme this year. About 315 children from local schools will help put 25,000 sand dune plants into the ground from Urenui to Oakura in May and June. This compares with about 12,000 plants last year. The plants bind the sand so it can resist erosion by wind and waves.  “We have a lot of schools and community groups wanting to be involved in greening their communities and learning about our constantly changing coastal environment,” said NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright.  “It’s been a great success for at least 20 years now and some of the outstanding plantings, such as the Oakura Motor Camp frontage and Messenger Terrace, look amazing.”  At least six schools are taking part with community groups in plantings at seven sites across the district this year. Schools are welcome to contact NPDC if they want to be involved in future plantings. They can email enquiries@npdc.govt.nz or call 06-759 6060.  Getting ahead of water woes in the District 01 May 2018 In the wake of ex-cyclone Gita and as part of the draft 10-Year Plan, NPDC has come up with five options for residents to consider to beef up the District’s water networks.  These range from the cheapest – doing nothing – to the most expensive – spending more than $140 million over the next decade. “We think it’s important to invest in water resilience now and make sure our water system is less vulnerable to damage from storms. No one wants to turn on a tap and have no water come out, as happened for some people after ex-cyclone Gita came through in February. Our preferred option is somewhere in the middle and we believe it strikes the right balance between risk, cost and affordability as we continue to Build a Lifestyle Capital,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. Improving resilience means upgrading our critical pipe bridges, our 30 wastewater pump stations, designing back-up options for parts of our network that have only one pipe, having more back-up spare parts for critical equipment, and ensuring better planning and mitigation for weather events.  NPDC is expecting the district’s population to grow to 92,400 in the next 10 years. Along with the effects of climate change, an ageing pipe network and a likely increase in drinking water standards, the district faces future supply challenges that NPDC is working on solving now. For more information on the draft 10-Year Plan visit: newplymouthnz.com/10Year or visit one of our public Roadshows. Fill in the three minute survey and go into the draw for NPDC to pay your rates for a year, up to the value of $3k. (Terms and conditions apply). Water facts The New Plymouth Water Treatment Plant provides water for 26,000 homes and business from Urenui to Omata – that’s about 90 per cent of the water for the whole district. There are 155km of trunk pipes, 650km of distribution and rider mains (service mains) and six pump stations in the district. The district’s main water storage – Lake Mangamahoe – holds about 10 days’ worth of water. On average we use 337 litres per person every day – that’s the same as five bath tubs full of water! Bin auditor helps push to improve region's recycling rate 24 April 2018 Beatrice Bjorn is hitting the streets to help keep the region’s recycling clean and green. Currently, our kerbside recycling in Taranaki has a high amount of non-recyclables in it – about 15 per cent from all the recycling from South Taranaki, Stratford and New Plymouth districts. Ms Bjorn’s role as a bin auditor is to educate residents on what can and can’t be recycled in the yellow-topped green bins. “As part of our vision to work towards Zero Waste we want to increase awareness among residents about what can and can’t be recycled at the kerbside, and ultimately cut right back on the amount of non-recyclables that we get,” says NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright.  Every street on an urban recycling collection in Taranaki will be audited over the coming 12 months. A tag will be left on bins noting whether the recycling is excellent or if non-recyclable items were in there.  Ms Bjorn will also collect recycling data suburb by suburb, which will enable the three councils to target education that is relevant to each area. The most common non-recyclable items that end up in recycling bins are plastics – including plastic bags, plastic film, plastic packaging and plastics that have no recycling number – polystyrene and fabric. To check whether an item is recyclable, check out your District Council’s website or download the NPDC Recycling app from Google Play or the App Store. Mayor calls for levy on inward flights to NZ to pay for Freedom Camping facilities 20 April 2018 The busy season for freedom camping is ending as autumn settles in but work on how New Plymouth District welcomes freedom campers continues.  Mayor Neil Holdom attended a Local Government New Zealand symposium on freedom camping this week. He says it was clear from the symposium that there is no silver bullet for solving issues around freedom camping. “However, NPDC knows that non-self-contained vehicles are going to come so we have to manage the effects in ways that are specific to the issues in each district,” says the Mayor. “I like the idea of a levy on inward flights to New Zealand to ensure visitors help fund the infrastructure they use. We also need clarification around what self-containment means because putting a bucket in the boot and a sticker on the back window doesn’t cut it.” Meanwhile, data has been collected on how many freedom campers have been using 13 popular NPDC coastal sites during summer, which is now being analysed alongside other information. “We’ll be discussing all of this at a workshop at the end of May, as well as reviewing how the Freedom Camping Bylaw operated during its first summer and any fine-tuning that might be required,” says the Mayor. “If we do amend the bylaw, we’ll go out for public consultation on the changes. Any amended bylaw would be adopted around October this year before the next busy camping season begins.” Under the Government’s Freedom Camping Act 2011, councils may not prohibit freedom camping in their districts but may have a bylaw that manages it. As well as Mayor Holdom attending the LGNZ symposium, Deputy Mayor Richard Jordan has attended a national freedom camping forum which discussed how New Zealand can better manage freedom camping.  Temporary Road Closure Liardet Street 19 April 2018 Pavement repairs on Liardet Street will require the road to be closed.  Accordingly, in terms of Section 342(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 1974 the Council directs that Liardet Street (between Leach and Pendarves streets) be closed 6pm to 7am for three nights from Thursday 19 April or until works are completed (weather permitting). Detours will be in place. The road will re-open without further notice.Enquiries shall be directed to Mike Simpson of Taranaki Civil Construction on 027-5555-221.  For more information contact New Plymouth District Council on 06-759 6060, via fax 06-759 6072 or email enquiries@npdc.govt.nz. Mayor welcomes facelift for busy stretch of Taranaki road 13 April 2018 A major resurfacing of a key road in Waiwhakaiho, New Plymouth, is great news for road users and businesses, says Mayor Neil Holdom. The NZ Transport Agency this weekend begins working on Devon Road between Vickers and Smart roads to remove the existing road surface and lay a new asphalt surface, with the majority of road works taking place between 6pm and 6am. “Northgate is one of the keys to our economic viability and it’s vital that we have this road up to the standard necessary to withstand the heavy traffic it gets every day. Fixing up this section of road is something we’ve raised with NZTA as of real concern to our people and we are pleased they are now taking action,” says Holdom. Mayor Holdom asks drivers to slow down and take care during the works period. NZTA’s road works start this Sunday (15 April) and will take about a month to finish. Government block offer announcement a major concern for Taranaki economy 12 April 2018 New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom said news the Government had halted offshore block offers was a kick in the guts for the long term future of the Taranaki economy and urgent work was needed on a plan to maintain Taranaki’s position as the provincial powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy.  “Thousands of households in Taranaki depend on the oil and gas industry and while we all want to see a more sustainable future for New Zealand we had expected to be having a comprehensive conversation about a planned and staged transition to a low carbon economy over the next 20 to 30 years with central government, local government, Iwi, the industry and other stakeholders actively contributing.”  “Taranaki’s councils, its people and its businesses have been setting national benchmarks for environmental initiatives, innovations and performance for years because we have the people, the expertise and the culture to do amazing things so now it’s time for us to sit down with Government, for them to draw us a picture of how they will support the people of Taranaki as we transition to a low carbon economy and we expect there will need to be significant investments from Government in energy innovation, in education, reskilling of our people and in economic development.”  “This announcement sends a message to some of Taranaki’s major investors and employers that they do not have a long term future in New Zealand, despite the fact the Crown pockets more than $300 million a year from Taranaki oil and gas royalties and our national electricity infrastructure and economy continues to rely on natural gas to keep the lights on across the nation. These are businesses that serve our community well, demonstrate leadership in environmental stewardship, community investment, safety and operational excellence.”  “I have spoken to the Minister of Energy Megan Woods and ensured she is clear that we want to know what the plan is to support our people, what the plan is to power our economy, what the plan is to support our businesses, what is the plan to support our communities through this period of transition. “Having generated billions in GDP and crown mineral royalties for NZ Inc over the years, our people will want to know what investments this Government will be making to mitigate the expected impacts on our household incomes and employment in what has been and continues to be the provincial rock star economy.”  “I have spoken to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and expressed disappointment that the announcement was made prior to a combined plan being developed to move the Taranaki Region through this transition but also committed to working constructively with Government to develop a plan for our people, for our future employment and for a more sustainable economy while making it clear we expect to see a significant chunk of the $300 million plus of crown mineral royalties the government pockets from Taranaki each year reinvested in our economy over coming years to smooth the very real impacts of this major change in Government policy.”  Tapuae Roa Make Way for Taranaki Action Plan launch 06 April 2018 The Taranaki region is taking charge of its future with the launch of the Tapuae Roa Action Plan today. Today, Minister Shane Jones announced Central Government funding of: • $13.34 million for the Taranaki Crossing Experience. • $5m for the Taranaki Cathedral restoration and upgrades. • $100,000 towards a business case for a New Energy Development Centre in Taranaki. • $100,000 to undertake a stock-take of Māori enterprise and education in Taranaki, with a focus on STEAMID (the broad areas of science, technology, engineering, arts/design, mathematics, innovation, and digital). • $100,000 towards an initial feasibility study to establish innovation precincts across Taranaki. • $50,000 towards the establishment of ‘H2 Taranaki’. • $50,000 towards a business case for developing a Taranaki Future Foods Accelerator. • $250,000 for the development of a business guide to tree planting on Taranaki hill country farms. • $400,000 for a SH43 business case. • $175,000 towards future food – major regional food opportunities. Speaking on behalf of the Taranaki Mayoral Forum, New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom says the Action Plan is a bold, ambitious roadmap for building economic strength in Taranaki. “These announcements are just the first steps towards projects that are game-changers for Taranaki and New Zealand,” says Mayor Holdom. “We live in a fast-changing world and with the projects identified in Make Way for Taranaki, we’ll take charge of our future rather than react to changes as they happen,” he says. “Taranaki’s future will be cleaner and greener as we invest in promoting the high-quality foods our farming sector produces, invest in tree planting in our back country, work to nurture the Māori economy which will play a pivotal part in the future of our region, invest in emerging clean energy technologies and invest in facilities to attract high-value tourists to Mt Taranaki.” A key success of the Tapuae Roa action plan is that it has been a group effort – developed in partnership between the region’s four councils, nga iwi o Taranaki, business leaders, Venture Taranaki and central government. “That across-the-board partnership gives Tapuae Roa real strength and resilience,” says Mayor Holdom. Quick facts Tapuae Roa: Make Way for Taranaki is a Taranaki-wide strategy with the goal of making the region successful. The project takes a whole-of-region approach and focuses on unlocking the best opportunities for regional economic growth. Besides providing a new direction for economic development, Tapuae Roa will feed into the long-term-plans of all the councils in the region, influence private sector investment decision-making and contribute to the future activities and investment decisions of the iwi of Taranaki. Tapuae Roa was launched in August 2017 and the Action Plan was launched today. Tapuae Roa has two parts: the Four Futures and the Four Foundations. Four Futures • Energy Futures: energy options designed for the emerging low-carbon future, building on the knowledge and expertise of the existing energy industry. This has the potential to be the basis of a strong economic future to the region, similar to the role energy has played in the past. • Food Futures: food products and processes that build on the existing strength of the primary and processing industries that are already a large part of the regional economy. As with Energy Futures, this project seeks to future-proof a key regional industry.  • Māori Economy Futures: ensuring a new generation of Māori leadership have the required technical and technological skills to participate in the modern economy. • Visitor Sector Futures: extending an already significant labour-intensive industry which has the potential to grow in the region. Four Foundations These are fundamental enablers that make the economy move more effectively: • Talent, enterprise and innovation: the most important and ambitious of the Four Foundations with a focus on training for a modern economy to grow innovation capability. The required skills are identified by STEAMID (science, technology, engineering, arts/design, mathematics, innovation and digital). • Accessibility and connectivity: enhancing the port, roads, rail, the airport and digital connectivity to overcome the region’s geographical isolation. • Vibrancy and liveability: these are key attractors for both bringing people into the region and retaining skilled residents. • Investment: arguably the single greatest enabler, to regional development. Funding options in this strategy include regional royalties, angel investment, a Taranaki Growth Fund, iwi investment, foreign direct investment and philanthropic contributions. Smash hit exhibition helps Puke Ariki set new visitor record 05 April 2018 Puke Ariki’s latest exhibition is a monster hit! Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs helped NPDC’s Puke Ariki museum set a record for the highest number of visitors in a single day since it opened in 2003.  The museum had 4091 visitors from Good Friday to Easter Monday with 1920 visitors on the Saturday, breaking the previous busiest day record of around 1700 set by Bugs: Our Backyard Heroes in January last year. “We are delighted that both visitors and locals are enjoying our latest exhibition and also taking time to explore our Long Term Galleries as well,” Puke Ariki Manager Kelvin Day says. Permian Monsters is in the Temporary Exhibitions Gallery and includes five life-size animatronics and one life-sized model of the creatures which roamed the Earth between 298 and 252 million years ago.  Kids get to explore and identify fossils in interactive ‘dig pits’ and there is also a soundscape when the animatronics are activated by people walking past them.  NPDC’s Puke Ariki has a number of Long Term Gallery projects underway that will see parts of the museum refreshed in the next few months.  A display in the Taranaki Life Gallery will look at the arrival of the Plymouth Company in Taranaki while there will be a refit to the Thompson’s Hut and both exhibits will feature interactive elements for all ages to enjoy.  Permian Monsters: Fast Facts • Permian Monsters runs at Puke Ariki Museum until 9 September. • Permian Monsters is curated by Gondwana Studios which has taken the exhibition to two other museums in New Zealand. • The Permian era was from 298 to 252 million years ago. • It started with an ice age and finished with a massive extinction event, believed to have been caused by volcanic activity causing climate change. • All the continents came together during this time to form the mega-continent Pangaea.  • Some 95 per cent of marine life was wiped out at the end of the period including trilobites which had been around for 270 million years. Record month for New Plymouth Airport 05 April 2018 A record number of passengers went through New Plymouth Airport in March, highlighting the growing attraction of Taranaki as a destination and the region’s thriving economy. March is normally the airport’s busiest month and passenger numbers had been expected to break the 40,000 mark for the first month ever, says Chief Executive Wayne Wootton. “When the numbers were in, not only did we break the barrier, but we went through the 41,000 mark with a total of 41,051 passengers through the airport during March,” says Mr Wootton. “This is amazing considering that the current terminal was originally designed for 50,000 passengers a year.” The March numbers were up 3.8 per cent from March last year and bring the 12-month figure since April last year to a new high of 434,000 passengers. “WOMAD has a big influence on the March figures and this year we also had the ITU Triathlon in New Plymouth, which helped too,” says Mr Wootton. With other users, such as friends and family, the total number of people at the airport in March was estimated at 56,000. Work is underway on a new terminal to replace the current building, which was built in the 1960s. The new terminal, with a budget between $22 million and $29 million, is expected to be operating in late 2019. The holiday of a lifetime in Waitara 29 March 2018 Roger and Trish Jenkins were only going to stay a single night in Waitara and they ended up taking over the management of the NPDC-owned Marine Park Motor Camp. They have taken over from Dawn Chard, who has held the lease at the historic camp ground for almost 27 years. “We sold our house in Hawera four months ago and with the profit we bought a motor home and we were travelling around the North Island. We happened to be heading back to Taranaki and called in to the Waitara Marine Park for one night and ended up here forever,” jokes Roger. Dawn Chard says she’s proud of the work she and her late husband put into the site, with NPDC’s help. “It’s turned out a really nice place. Everything we did made it a little bit better, it gave us the heart to carry on a bit more and NPDC has been absolutely marvellous,” says Dawn. NPDC’s Chief Financial Officer says Waitara is a great place to do business. “NPDC manages six seaside Holiday Park leases to help to bring visitors to the district, create jobs and keep the tills ringing,” says Mr Bird. At 72, Dawn said the time had come to hand over the reins and “everything fell into place” when the Jenkins arrived. The pair, who have previously managed hotels in the South Island, saw opportunities in the camp and the town. They knew Dawn wasn’t well and asked if she would consider selling the lease. The deal included Dawn buying the Jenkins’ bus so she could stay on at the camp. Roger, who worked in Waitara in his younger days, says Waitara has “grown up”. “It’s a real community spirit here, with friendly people and the sea is only a minute away.” They plan to upgrade the facilities, including the kitchen and laundry, start a website and bring in Eftpos, while keeping the animal-friendly, family atmosphere. The Waitara Marine Park Motor Camp has been running since at least the 1920s and is one of NPDC’s six seaside holiday park leases. The other five are in Oakura, Belt Road, Fitzroy, Urenui and Onaero. Holiday of a lifetime How one night in Waitara changed lives and will boost tourism 29 March 2018 Roger and Trish Jenkins were only going to stay a single night in Waitara and they ended up taking over the management of the NPDC-owned Marine Park Motor Camp. They have taken over from Dawn Chard, who has held the lease at the historic camp ground for almost 27 years. “We sold our house in Hawera four months ago and with the profit we bought a motor home and we were travelling around the North Island. We happened to be heading back to Taranaki and called in to the Waitara Marine Park for one night and ended up here forever,” jokes Roger. Dawn Chard says she’s proud of the work she and her late husband put into the site, with NPDC’s help. “It’s turned out a really nice place. Everything we did made it a little bit better, it gave us the heart to carry on a bit more and NPDC has been absolutely marvellous,” says Dawn. NPDC’s Chief Financial Officer says Waitara is a great place to do business. “NPDC manages six seaside Holiday Park leases to help to bring visitors to the district, create jobs and keep the tills ringing,” says Mr Bird. At 72, Dawn said the time had come to hand over the reins and “everything fell into place” when the Jenkins arrived. The pair, who have previously managed hotels in the South Island, saw opportunities in the camp and the town. They knew Dawn wasn’t well and asked if she would consider selling the lease. The deal included Dawn buying the Jenkins’ bus so she could stay on at the camp. Roger, who worked in Waitara in his younger days, says Waitara has “grown up”. “It’s a real community spirit here, with friendly people and the sea is only a minute away.” They plan to upgrade the facilities, including the kitchen and laundry, start a website and bring in Eftpos, while keeping the animal-friendly, family atmosphere. The Waitara Marine Park Motor Camp has been running since at least the 1920s and is one of NPDC’s six seaside holiday park leases. The other five are in Oakura, Belt Road, Fitzroy, Urenui and Onaero. NPDC's digital draft district plan recognized with top award 26 March 2018 New Plymouth District Council’s trail-blazing work to create digital draft district plan has been recognized with a major award from New Zealand’s top planning body. The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) on Friday announced NPDC has won the 2018 Supreme Practice Award for its commitment to becoming “a future-focused ‘Digital Council.” NPDC was the first council in New Zealand to draft a new district plan written directly into a property-based driven e-plan, said the NZPI. “This council’s experience will help achieve the delivery of more robust and consistent district plans,” said the citation for the award, also known as the Nancy Northcroft Planning Practice Award. NPDC’s digital draft district plan went live on 5 February and is available to anyone online. With a few clicks, they can find information on their property anytime, anywhere – rather than looking through paper documents for the information they need. “We have had interest in this work from across the country and Australia. It is much-deserved recognition of the work staff have put in to enable better customer experiences and a more engaged community,” says NPDC Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts. “The digital draft plan helps give us a better understanding of what people think of the proposals and on how they think the e-plan works too.” E-planning is now a statutory requirement for all councils to move towards and the NPDC’s e-plan created significant opportunities for other councils to benefit and leverage from, said the NZPI citation. “We look forward to continuing to work with other councils, central government and our technology provider, Isovist, to develop and refine the e-plan tool,” says Mr Hodgetts. District plans guide how NPDC manages a variety of activities in our community.  The Digital Council project includes plans to enable the public to conduct more of their transactions with NPDC, such as buying LIM reports, online. The Digital District Plan is online at newplymouthnz.com/DraftDistrictPlan. Kereru flying again thanks to care from NPDC's zoo staff 23 March 2018 Kereru have taken a hammering this summer but staff at NPDC’s Brooklands Zoo have been pulling out all the stops to get injured and orphaned birds back in the air. The zoo has accepted six kereru (native pigeons) into its care since December. The injured birds are housed out of the public eye before they are released back into the wild. NPDC External Relations Manager Jacqueline Baker says Brooklands Zoo staff have to deal with birds that are completely wild and often stressed when they arrive. “Some of these animals are protected species and our keepers have been specially trained in how to care for them. They have created a calm environment to help them recover,” Ms Baker says.  Brooklands Zoo has a Department of Conservation (DOC) permit to assist with rehabilitating injured or orphaned native birds, such as kereru, tui and morepork, as well as protected reptiles. Kereru are large and relatively heavy birds and are prone to injury. We can all take simple measures to help protect kereru, says Ms Baker. These include not speeding on the roads, keeping dogs under control in the bush, putting stickers on large windows, and avoiding planting trees, such as puriri which attract kereru, right next to large viewing windows. “Most people think of them as quite common birds, and although they are not rare, they only have one chick a year and it takes 10 weeks to leave the nest, during which time it is very vulnerable to predators,” says Ms Baker. Brooklands Zoo opened in 1965 and about 113,000 people visit every year. NPDC owned and operated, the family-focused zoo is home to a wide variety of species, including farmyard animals, reptiles and amphibians, and exotic mammals and birds.
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