NPDC Citizens' Awards Recognise Outstanding Volunteers
14 August 2017
Nine outstanding members of New Plymouth District’s community will tonight receive Citizens’ Awards!
The years of voluntary work by the nine recipients cover a wide range of sectors, from emergency services and sports to employment and health.
“It’s a real pleasure to be able to give an official ‘thank you and well done’ to these nine people,” says Mayor Neil Holdom.
“Volunteers are the life-blood of our district – there are many services that would grind to a halt without them.
“So often our volunteers work behind the scenes without recognition. This year’s recipients of the Citizens’ Awards are outstanding due to their years of dedication and how much they have given back to the community, so this is an opportunity to put the spotlight on them and give them some well-deserved praise.”
The recipients of the 2017 Citizens Awards are:
Nigel Cash (Waitara)
Nigel has supported the Waitara Fire Brigade for 20 years as a member of the Operational Support Unit. His duties include traffic control support at motor vehicle accidents and scene lighting assistance; however, it is the extra voluntary work over and above his brigade duties that has led Nigel to this award.
The New Zealand Fire Service runs a programme offering the elderly, young families and the disabled free home fire safety checks, resulting in the installation of a free smoke alarm. Each check takes about an hour to complete.
For some time now Nigel has unselfishly given up his day off to provide these checks to Waitara and surrounding communities. Elaine Gill (New Plymouth)
Elaine has been in New Plymouth for 40-plus years and involved with over 30 trusts, committees, forums and advisory groups during that time.
As founding member and Chair of the Taranaki Employment & Support Foundation Trust (TESFT), she has been the driving force behind the success of the trust, holding a number of roles within it. She has worked tirelessly, often putting in more than 40 hours a week on funding applications and end of year reports. The current projects that Elaine has played a key role in include Volunteering New Plymouth, Taranaki Computer Access Centre Trust and Dress for Success, with funding sourced from the Department of Internal Affairs, New Plymouth District Council, WITT and the Ministry of Social Development.
There have been a number of other community focused projects under the TESFT umbrella including assisting jobseekers over the age of 40, providing support and educational workshops for migrants and helping unemployed youth complete work experience within community organisations, just to name a few.
Elaine’s wealth of knowledge, understanding and empathy for the Taranaki community has led her to be a significant innovator and promoter for Taranaki as a whole.
Until recently Elaine was also Chair of the Taranaki Festival of the Arts Trust and Taranaki Community Health Trust.
Among other accolades, Elaine was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, she has received a Kiwi Bank Local Hero Award, and earlier this year she was a finalist for the New Zealander of the Year Awards. Next month she is a finalist for the Women of Influence Award.
Jim Hook (Waitara)
Jim has been involved in the Waitara community for more than 40 years.
Of particular note is the time and effort Jim has put into the Waitara Savage Club. Known as the “fix-it man”, Jim has been a member for 45 years and the “go to” person when things need repairing. Jim was initiated into the Haka Group and also takes part in sketches and songs for the public. Jim now holds the title of Club President.
Jim spends time at the Waitara Salvation Army where, along with his wife Pat, he helps with gardening, preparing items for sale, moving items for display and sorting any problems that may arise. If anything needs doing, Jim will sort it.
For the Waitara Railway Preservation Society, Jim exemplifies what is good in being a multi-tasking volunteer with a no fuss, no bother attitude. Jim has been on the committee and is a train guard. If people show up when they’re not operating, Jim will take them on a motor trolley up and down the line. Jim now has his own little pad, with radio, bench, tea maker and a sign on the door that says “strip joint” – the “strip joint” is used for restoration projects to bring in cash for the society. TV sets, telephones, electric kettles – Jim will tinker with it.
Jim also received a Volunteer Service Award in 2014.
Kit Lea (NP)
Kit has shared her time and skills with the community for more than 30 years.
During that time Kit has put her avid knitting skills to good use by tirelessly creating beautiful singlets, cardigans, hats, booties and blankets for the babies of the neonatal unit at New Plymouth hospital. Kit has mostly purchased the wool herself and knitted these garments that, not only keep the small babies warm, but help the families too. There have been hundreds of babies and families who have benefitted from Kit’s knitting as they have come through the unit.
Kit joined the Waitara Lioness Club in 1987 as a charter member and, through natural attrition, was part of the Merrilands Lions and is now with the Bell Block and District Lions Club. Kit has held many positions within the club throughout the years and, in April this year, received her 30 year service Chevron Award.
Kit is unassuming and carries on doing the things she loves to do.
Katrina McNab (Lepperton)
Kat has provided support to the Lepperton and Waitara communities for more than 10 years.
Affectionately known as “Hurricane Katrina”, Kat volunteers tirelessly and has endless energy. She manages to stir many helpers into action to make things happen. Kat is not afraid of hard work and will happily roll up her sleeves to get stuck in to anything that needs doing.
Over her many years on the Home & School Committee, Kat has raised significant funds for the school, as well as organising calf day and lawnmower racing. Kat helps cook school lunches every second Wednesday, has coached sports teams and transported children to different events throughout the district.
Within other parts of the community, Kat assists with the running of weekend events for children with special needs, providing interaction with other children and respite for parents. Running school holiday programmes and organising Lepperton schoolchildren to raise funds to purchase Christmas presents for those less fortunate, form part of the continuing support Kat provides to the community.
Maureen Lonsdale (New Plymouth)
For more than 40 years, Maureen has devoted herself unstintingly to the service of people in Taranaki who have diabetes.
Maureen began her work supporting and counselling diabetic patients on a voluntary basis. Over the years Maureen has developed and widened the scope of her activities in the field of diabetes education and promotion.
Maureen has been a major instigator and support person of Diabetes Taranaki, Diabetes Youth Taranaki and holiday camps for children with diabetes. Her innovative ideas have received nationwide recognition and she is often consulted by national organisations. Her activities have encompassed all ages and all population groups affected by this major and increasing health problem.
Maureen has always made herself available, providing an invaluable and reassuring support service. In retirement she continues to provide this support in all aspects relating to diabetes.
Maureen has been involved with, and is a life member of, Diabetes New Zealand and has received the Diabetes New Zealand Volunteer Award.
Maureen has also been involved with basketball, the Mothers Union and theatre. Her goals have been, and are still, helping people.
Terry Parkes (NP)
Serving the community stems from Terry’s love for the region and the people who live here.
As a doer, Terry gets in and gives his support. Whether it’s sponsorship, support for the visual and performing arts, saving of a significant historical building, support for the hospital and the services it delivers, business and art mentoring, or feeding school children in need of lunches, Terry is at the forefront and often working quietly behind the scenes.
Terry is a passionate advocate for the region and spends personal time ensuring visitors experience the cultural highlights of the region, through itineraries he has put together. Visitors depart New Plymouth as champions for the region.
Always ready to jump in behind a cause and he has the ability to encourage others to follow suit. His passion and interests are not contained to one sector and, with Terry involved, things tend to happen and quickly.
To name a few, Terry is involved with the WITT Advisory Group, Lotteries Commission, Art in Public Places, Taranaki Arts Festival, Tropfest, WOMAD, Garden Spectacular, Taranaki Health Foundation, Govett-Brewster Foundation and prominent fundraising the for Len Lye Centre.
Terry’s service to the community is far-reaching and continues to extend into many areas.
Neil Sulzberger (New Plymouth)
Taranaki cricket has had the pleasure of Neil’s services for more than 50 years. Player, club secretary, selector, board member, coach and chairman are just a few of the roles that Neil has held within the sport.
Neil’s contribution to cricket at both the national and international level has been tremendous. For 20 years Neil volunteered his time as Chairman of the Taranaki Cricket Association, only retiring last year. Earlier this year he was honoured with receipt of the Bert Sutcliffe Medal for Outstanding Service to NZ Cricket.
Tirelessly supporting the cricket ground at Pukekura Park, Neil has personally managed the majority of matches held at the ground in recent years. He has been responsible for ensuring the continuation and growth of first class cricket at this venue and, largely through his efforts, a number of T20 and 50-over semi-finals and finals have been held at the park.
Neil was the prime mover behind the building of the Sulzberger Indoor Cricket Centre, which is situated in New Plymouth and is a tremendous asset for the district.
Promotion of cricket in the schools programme, promotion of coaching for secondary school and age group representative teams, and fostering a close association with New Plymouth Boys’ High School and Francis Douglas Memorial College are just a few of the other ways that Neil has supported the Taranaki Cricket Association and the district.
Clair Tart (Waitara)
Clair has made a significant contribution to the Waitara High School community and Taranaki Cancer Society through her involvement in the school’s Relay for Life team.
The success and longevity of the Waitara High School team is attributed to Clair’s enthusiasm and her driving force to enter a team each year, since the relay began.
The relay teams have raised more than $25,000 since 2010 for the Cancer Society and earned “Dream Team” status three times, which is no mean feat! To achieve the title the team needs to have raised more than $5,000 per relay and in 2016 Waitara High School was one of only four teams out of 63 to achieve this.
Clair teaches the students that raising money for a cause like this is important, and it feels good to do something completely selfless. The students realise that they are making a difference to the lives of people they may have never met.
Preparation for the event is months in the making. Clair is camp mum, taxi driver, secretary, treasurer, cook and team manager. She also creates promotional material and supports students in the clean-up of the venue and performing the haka.
Clair is the classic example of a teacher going the extra mile for her students, setting them on the path of thinking about others.
Historic Day for New Zealand: Maori Affairs Committee Recommends NPDC's Waitara Lands Bill Be Approved
02 August 2017
The Maori Affairs Committee’s recommendation that Parliament approves a Bill to free up leasehold lands in Waitara is a historic moment for New Zealand, says New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom.
New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) has worked with the Māori Affairs Committee to make amendments to the Bill.
If approved by Parliament, funds from the leasehold land – both rents and sales proceeds – will now be used as follows: Fifty per cent of NPDC’s share of rent or sales proceeds will now go to a fund for Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū to enable them to own land in or around Waitara. The rest of NPDC’s funds would continue to go into a perpetual fund for the benefit of the Waitara community, with a governance team comprising NPDC and Te Atiawa representatives. Taranaki Regional Council’s share of rent or sales proceeds will now be used on the Waitara River catchment by a joint TRC and iwi committee. The Bill balances the aspirations of hapū and leaseholders as well as NPDC’s legal obligations.
“This is a huge step forward and something we as a community have been working towards for more than 30 years,” says Mayor Holdom.
“Waitara’s story is New Zealand’s story. It’s an example of how we can work through an extraordinarily complex matter that at times hasn’t been easy, to achieve a great result for our community while balancing the needs of all our 80,000 residents.”
A second reading of the Bill will occur in Parliament in the coming weeks. Further detail on the Bill is online at newplymouthnz.com and parliament.nz. FAST FACTS - New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill
Why are these lands so important?
The Crown’s attempt in 1860 to purchase the Pekapeka Block (a large portion of what is modern-day Waitara) sparked the first Taranaki War, which led to confiscation of Maori land. The Crown gifted confiscated land to local authorities for the development of a harbour and the township at Waitara.
What are the leasehold lands?
Of the approximately 170 hectares of Council-owned endowment land in Waitara, 133ha was former Waitara Borough Council land held under the Waitara Harbour Act 1940, and the balance land that the Crown gave to borough authorities for municipal purposes under various pieces of legislation and Crown grants. Around 51ha are leased for around 700 homes on 21-year perpetual leases. The remainder is used for around 80 commercial and industrial perpetual leases, grazing, parks and reserves, and Council purposes, or is vacant, flood-prone land.
What is the Bill trying to achieve?
The Bill now: Transfers almost half of the endowment land to iwi and/or hapu ownership. Removes the restrictions on how income from the leasehold land can be used (which is currently limited to meeting administration costs and limited other purposes such as bridge maintenance). Fifty per cent of NPDC’s funds from the leasehold lands will go to a fund for Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū to enable them to own land in or around Waitara; the rest will go into a perpetual fund for the benefit of the Waitara community. Taranaki Regional Council’s funds from the leasehold land will be used on the Waitara River catchment. Provides leaseholders the right to buy the freehold title to their properties at the current market value of the section. What is the next step?
Parliament is scheduled to hold a second reading of the Bill on 9 August, although this is subject to Parliamentary processes.
Waitara Lands Bill timeline
1941: all endowment land in Waitara was in the hands of the Waitara Borough Council, one of NPDC’s predecessors.
1989: local government amalgamation in New Zealand. At its first standard council meeting, the newly formed New Plymouth District Council decides to freehold its leasehold lands in Waitara.
1992: NPDC introduces a Bill to Parliament but the Government raises concerns about the sale of such significant land and asks NPDC to try to reach a solution with Te Atiawa.
2002: NPDC starts a review of its position in relation to the Waitara leasehold lands, involving extensive public consultation.
30 March 2004: NPDC resolves to sell leasehold land to the Crown at fair market value for inclusion in Te Atiawa’s treaty settlement and withdraws its 1992 Bill.
31 March 2004: first court proceedings against the Council issue by Waitara Leaseholders Association.
4 November 2005: High Court decision against NPDC.
20 March 2007: Court of Appeal ruling in favour of NPDC.
14 May 2008: High Court strikes out six test cases of individual leaseholder claims against NPDC.
7 September 2010: conditional sale and purchase agreement entered into between the Crown and NPDC to enable endowment land to be used in the settlement.
23 August 2011: final individual leaseholder claim disposed of by Court of Appeal.
30 May 2014: NPDC advised by Office of Treaty Settlements and the Te Atiawa Iwi Authority of their decision not to include Waitara lands in the settlement.
8 August 2014: heads of agreement signed between NPDC and Te Kotahitangi o Te Atiawa (Te Atiawa’s post-settlement authority).
April to May 2016: public consultation on draft New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill.
14 September 2016: Bill introduced to Parliament.
21 September 2016: Bill’s first reading in Parliament and is referred to the Maori Affairs Select Committee.
2 August 2017: the committee recommends that Parliament approves the Bill.
Community Funding Allocations Announced
01 August 2017
More than 30 community organisations have received grants from New Plymouth District Council’s Community Funding Investment Committee for 2017/18.
The grants include multi-year funding to several agencies through a strategic partnership, which will enable the groups to continue their work for more than one year.
Committee chair Harry Duynhoven says as always there were more applications than available funds but it was inspiring to see so many organisations achieving positive outcomes for the people of New Plymouth District.
“They contribute so much to our community and we’re pleased to be able to support them in the great work that they do,” he says.
The recipients of the 2017/18 funding round are:
Strategic partnerships (annual payment over a multi-year period) Big Brothers Big Sisters Taranaki: $3,000 per year (five-year period). Foundation for the Blind: $5,000 per year (three-year period). New Plymouth Indian Community: $8,000 per year (three-year period). Migrant Connections: $18,000 per year (five-year period). Multi Ethnic Council: $12,000 per year (three-year period). Surf Lifesaving New Zealand: $75,000 per year (five-year period). Toimata Foundation: $13,000 per year (three-year period). Taranaki Rescue Helicopter: $30,000 per year (three-year period). New Plymouth City Band: $10,000 per year (five-year period). Victim Support: $3,500 per year (five-year period). New Plymouth injurySafe Trust: $30,000 per year (three-year period). NP Orchestra: $10,000 per year (five-year period). Taranaki Elite Athletes: $20,000 per year (five-year period). East Taranaki Environment Trust: $18,000 per year (five-year period). Community Services and Grants (one off payment for the 2017/18 financial year) Hearing New Zealand: $1,500. New Plymouth Basketball Association: $10,000. Dress for Success New Plymouth: $17,000. Taranaki Women’s Refuge: $18,000. Access Radio Taranaki: $12,000. English Language Partners Taranaki: $2,500. Waitara Alive: $7,000. New Plymouth Emergency Shelter: $15,000. North Taranaki Neighbourhood Support: $7,000. Taranaki Adult Literacy Services: $3,000. Chamber Music New Zealand: $6,000. Taranaki Futures Trust: $47,000. The Parenting Place: $2,000. Taranaki Retreat Trust: $20,000. Intercreate Trust: $20,000. Ars Nova Choir: $5,000. Wellstop Taranaki: $2,500. Taranaki Disabilities Information Centre: $4,000. New Plymouth and District RSA: $15,000.
Energy, Dairy and Tourism?
21 July 2017
Should Taranaki increase its share of New Zealand’s tourism pie?
New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) is considering whether to focus more on tourism, as a major plank of the region’s economy, alongside the giants of energy and dairy.
Currently visitors make just over a million trips a year to Taranaki and the questions needs to be asked, should our region take advantage of our top-two in the world accolade from international travel guide publisher Lonely Planet and ride the wave of investment in the Pouakai Crossing, the State Highway 3 upgrade at Mt Messenger and New Plymouth Airport?
“We have enormous potential. That’s why Lonely Planet put us on the global tourist map as one of the top-two regions in the world to visit,” Mayor Neil Holdom.
“Keeping ourselves on the tourist map means more opportunities for our people, more visitors, more jobs and a more secure future.”
According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, visitors make just over a million trips a year to Taranaki, spending about $340 million a year.
“What if we could double this?” asks Councillor Stacey Hitchcock. “Adding another major pillar to our economy, alongside energy and agriculture, will keep the tills ringing and support our lifestyle.”
There is enormous potential in telling the stories of our past – including the Taranaki Wars and New Zealand’s oldest stone church. Working with neighbouring districts could see the creation of tourist trails – for example, visitors to Waitomo could be directed to Mokau, then to the Three Sisters, the White Cliffs and so on.
DOC has started to help make the Pouakai Crossing a walk of national significance – one that is on a par with the Tongariro Crossing – and the NZ Transport Agency will ensure our connection to Auckland and the rest of the North Island is even stronger with an improved highway around the Awakino Gorge and Mount Messenger.
Should NPDC be doing more to grow the tourism sector and Destination Taranaki? A survey is online at newplymouthnz.com/Top10 for people to share their thoughts – and everyone who completes the survey goes in the draw to win an iPad!
Huge Growth Potential in Developing Breakwater Bay in Wake of America's Cup Win
30 June 2017
New Plymouth District Council is considering the potential for Breakwater Bay developments to boost the region’s economy.
The bay, at the eastern end of the port where cafes and recreation businesses are grouped, could have a marina development, better connections to the Coastal Walkway and more leisure and shopping opportunities.
And in the wake of New Zealand’s America’s Cup win, when the international yachting fraternity’s attention will be on our country more than ever before, the timing could be perfect.
Councillor Murray Chong says Port Taranaki makes a significant contribution to the Taranaki economy and the areas of the port that are accessible to the public make for a great day out.
“But is it an under-developed jewel in our crown?” asks Mr Chong.
“Marina developments in other regional ports – like Picton, Nelson, Napier and Whangarei – have generated jobs and business with new leisure and shopping precincts. Some have drawn hotels too.
“It could also attract international yachts – maybe trans-Tasman races – and bring more competitors to our fishing tournaments.
“Our coastal attractions and links to the sea are an important part of our history and key to our appeal. We need to make the most of them.”
Says Councillor Alan Melody: “The question is whether the public wants this to be one of the areas that the Council focuses its efforts, in partnership with Port Taranaki and Ngati Te Whiti.
“We’ve got a survey up on newplymouthnz.com/Top10 and we’d really like to get the public’s feedback on how important this is to them.”
Port Taranaki, NPDC, and Ngati Te Whiti already have a working relationship at the Ngamotu Beach area of the port. Port Taranaki owns the land but has made it available to the public for recreational use, while NPDC maintains the amenities such as toilets, open spaces, picnic tables, benches and play equipment. Ngati Te Whiti, a hapu of Te Atiawa, is mana whenua.