Volunteer power keeps New Plymouth District humming

22 June 2018

NPDC’s historic Te Henui Cemetery is making its debut in the Powerco Taranaki Garden Festival this year – thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers who keep the grounds looking spectacular year-round.

Working with NPDC horticulture staff, they spread mulch, pull weeds, prune trees and gather up the garden waste for collection, ensuring the cemetery remains a place of tranquil calm for visitors.

The cemetery has earned consistent rave reviews and a certificate of excellence on the TripAdvisor website, and is set to be a major draw in the Garden Festival which runs from 26 October to 4 November this year.

About 25 regular volunteers work with NPDC’s Parks department in the cemetery, Pukekura Park, Brooklands Zoo and other places in the district.

Other groups and individuals help out with occasional beach plantings and clean-ups and the annual Keep New Zealand Beautiful campaign in September.

NPDC is acknowledging their commitment to their community during Volunteer Week this week.

“We want to thank them because their work helps make the district a great place to live and visit,” says NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright.

About 60 volunteers work with NPDC’s Puke Ariki in the libraries and museum, as well as collections and the research centre, putting in an average of 140 hours a month in total.

A big part of their work involves getting out in the community, taking books to the housebound and hosting historical guided walks.

One highlight is the Museum in a Suitcase, a weekly visit to rest homes and senior groups with carefully selected artefacts in a suitcase.

The Museum in a Suitcase is especially rewarding because it encourages conversations and brings out stories and memories of our district’s past, says Mr Wright.

“All of these people volunteer because they want to contribute to the community and they keep doing it because they enjoy it,” says Mr Wright.

If you want to join any of our volunteer teams, you can visit an NPDC service centre, email enquiries@npdc.govt.nz, call 06-759 6060 or visit http://www.newplymouthnz.com/Council/About-The-Council/Contact-Us.

Puke Ariki – how they help:
The Museum in a Suitcase can be booked for Mondays 11am for a 45-minute session (other sessions may be available by arrangement) from next month. 
The Housebound Readers Service is for people who have difficulty accessing the library or mobile library. 
Guided Historical Walks reveal the stories of New Plymouth through two routes: the Taranaki Cathedral/Marsland Hill walk and the Devonport/Central City walk. The cost is $25 per person (under 16s free) and they can be made available daily at 1pm with 24 hours’ notice.  
To find out more about becoming a Puke Ariki volunteer, go to http://pukeariki.com/Puke-Ariki/About-Us/Volunteers.
NPDC Volunteers