News and Notices

News Public Ownership for Site of National Significance 27 June 2016 A significant New Zealand historical site has come into public ownership for the first time, with the purchase of Te Kohia Pa. The site, which is also known as the L-pa due to its shape, was where the first shots were fired at in the First Taranaki War in 1860. New Plymouth District Council has bought the 4ha Brixton property from a private owner and intends to work with Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa on a development plan that could include memorials, heritage/cultural tourism and educational developments. Mayor Andrew Judd says it was the opportunity of a lifetime to bring a site of national significance into public ownership. “My vision is for this to be a place for Maori and Pakeha to come together to learn and better understand each other, and to heal,” says the Mayor. “I see this as an extension of Puke Ariki, where we could have an education centre that discusses not only what happened there at the Peka Peka Block but which tells the wider New Zealand story during the wars.” Otaraua Hapu Chairman Rawiri Doorbar says the significance of the site cannot be overstated. “This was the flash-point of a forgotten war – a fire in which this country was forged – and where every tangible sign that it ever happened has nearly all been erased by farming and industry,” he says. “This is big, this is hugely significant to us. The Council should be congratulated for including tangata whenua in this meaningful relationship, and for its foresight in actively seeking to secure our history for the benefit of our collective future.” The Council will take possession of the site in August and it remains private property until then. The cost of the site’s purchase will be met by the sale of surplus property, leasing some of the land for grazing and from debt. Te Kohia Pa is on Devon Road between Waitara Road and Big Jim’s Hill. The site has been identified through a review of the district’s waahi tapu and archaeological sites by archaeological firm Geometria Ltd, with additional confirmation by hapu and historians. The pa’s exact location will be determined by archaeological investigations once the house has been relocated. The pa was known for its innovative covered trenches – a feature first used at Ruapekapeka in the Northern War of the 1840s then refined at Te Kohia. These trenches were replicated by other iwi in their pa designs during the New Zealand Wars. Mayor Judd says any remnants of the pa’s structure would be a key part of any educational function that is developed. “At the time of the first shots in the Taranaki War, after Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke and his men abandoned the pa, the English took detailed drawings of its design because they were so impressed with its complexity,” he says. In February 1860 the surveying of the disputed Waitara block was interrupted by supporters of Paramount Te Atiawa Chief Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke. The British Army based in New Plymouth occupied the land and a blockhouse was erected. Te Atiawa responded by building Te Kohia Pa on a ridge overlooking the British position. On 17 March 1860, Colonel Charles Gold ordered an attack upon the pa, marking the start of the First Taranaki War.
News Thinking of Standing for Election 27 June 2016 Are you thinking of standing for election to New Plymouth District Council or one of its community boards? Or perhaps it’s an idea you’re considering but you haven’t decided yet? This week is Candidates Week, when councils around the country distribute information about what being an elected member entails, financial information about the local council and data on challenges facing the local district. As well, New Plymouth District Council is launching a video on Wednesday (29 JUNE) to encourage people to stand for election, featuring the recurring fictional ratepayer Reg. “Reg is popular among locals and the videos are a fun way to get information across – and between the video and the candidates’ information pack, we can reach a wide range of people,” says Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts. “Our goals are to encourage more people to stand for election, and to help candidates be more prepared for the role they’d be taking on.” The candidates’ information pack includes the pre-election report, an introductory document for those thinking of helping to shape our future by standing for election, and the candidate information handbook for those who decide to take the next step by standing for election. The pack will be available from Wednesday from the Civic Centre and all service centres and libraries, and online at Nominations for Mayor, Councillors and community board members open on 15 July and close at noon on 12 August. A candidate information meeting will be held in the Civic Centre from 3pm to 5pm on Saturday 23 July. The meeting is for candidates considering standing for New Plymouth District Council, the Taranaki District Health Board or the New Plymouth District constituencies for Taranaki Regional Council.
News Applications Open for Creative Communities Fund 27 June 2016 Do you have a creative arts project that would benefit from some funding? Applications have opened for the next funding round of the Creative Communities Scheme. Creative Communities Scheme Funding Committee Chairperson Richard Jordan says the fund is available for all forms of creative and interpretive expression. “We look forward to a wide variety of groups applying to reflect the important role that art, in its widest sense, has in our community,” he says. “New Plymouth has a very talented pool of creative and artistic people and it would be fantastic to see more of their work showcased. “While the Creative Community fund isn’t large, we endeavour to maximise its effect in our community by encouraging participation in all forms of art, be that via music or the visual and creative arts.” The three funding criteria are: Participation – projects that create opportunities for local communities to engage with and participate in local arts activities. Diversity – projects that support the diverse arts and cultural traditions of local communities, enriching and promoting their uniqueness and cultural diversity. Young People – projects that enable and encourage young people (under 18 years old) to engage with and actively participate in the arts. Both small and large projects are eligible for the fund, with grants of up to $5,000 available for bigger initiatives. Application forms are available at the Civic Centre and online at Applications close on Friday 22 July. More information: Applications, Guide, and Policy
News Consultation on Housing for the Elderly Policy 23 June 2016 The way that New Plymouth District Council manages its Housing for the Elderly service is being reviewed – and we want your input. Submissions on the draft Housing for the Elderly (HTFE) Policy will open on Monday next week (27 June). “We’re staying in the business of providing social housing for elderly people – that isn’t changing,” says Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts. “However the policy is due to be reviewed and we’re looking to set the strategic direction of Housing for the Elderly and implement more effectively our previous decisions about the service, such as making it self-funding.” The new policy would enable the Council to more strategically manage the service, such as considering housing designs that better meet the changing needs of elderly people. “These are important considerations given that we have an ageing population in Taranaki and demand on our social housing is likely to increase,” says Liam. Public consultation The draft policy was developed following discussions with key stakeholders on the housing needs of the elderly. More information about the draft policy and submissions forms are available at the Civic Centre, community libraries and online at Submissions close on 15 July.
News Recipients of Citizens Awards 2016 22 June 2016 Twelve people from around New Plymouth District were presented with Citizens’ Awards yesterday (Tuesday). Mayor Andrew Judd says the variety of work the recipients are involved in is heartening, ranging from sports and music to social work and education. “It is people such as these 12 who help make New Plymouth District such an inclusive community and a great place to live,” says the Mayor. “They have given so much of their time for the benefit of other people and community organisations that it’s appropriate for us to say ‘well done’ and give them the acknowledgement they deserve.” The recipients of the Citizens’ Awards 2016 are: Gary Brown (New Plymouth) A successful architect, Gary designed the New Plymouth District Council building among many others throughout the country. He has been involved with the New Plymouth Rotary Club for more than 35 years, and in 2004 was awarded a prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship – the highest international accolade any Rotarian can receive. Gary joined Atawhai Industries in 1983, a charitable trust that assists people with intellectual disabilities into meaningful activities and paid employment, and has been chairman of the trust since 2013. He was previously a member of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce (including one year as Chairman), and a member of the board of Tourism Taranaki where he was part of an extensive study of the feasibility of building a gondola to access the Maunganui Ski Field and Fantham’s Peak in 1996/97served on the board, with a year spent as Chairman. Gary has been a Justice of the Peace since 1986 and a trustee of the North Taranaki Men’s Shed Inc since its inception in 2012. Donald Frank (NP) Don served on the committee of the New Plymouth Community Food Bank for 11 years: two as Secretary and nine as President. During this time the food bank needed to relocate, for which Don found a temporary dwelling. The next challenge was to raise funds to build a new premises, which waswas successfully achieved in 2000. Don has been involved in St Mary’s Church as a parishioner for more than 40 years. During this time he provided a number of services to the church, including holding the position of “sides person” (which involved greeting other parishioners and visitors), producing the church newsletter, serving two one-year terms on the vestry and teaching Bible studies at Woodleigh School for five years. As a member of the Pakeke Lions, Don drove the Puff ‘n’ Stuff train for 10 years and was made a Life Member of Lions International. Don has also been a member of the New Plymouth Host Lions for 15 years. As part of Friends of the Park, Don was the convener and drive of the buggy in Pukekura Park for many years. Don has supported Pukeiti financially for 10 years and participated in working bees, and has also participated in a Rotary-sponsored Reading in Schools programme for four years at Merrilands primary and Highlands intermediate schools. Frances Hume (Waitara) Frances has worked with the Foundation of the Blind for 45 years, spending many hours teaching people how to use talking books and helping lonely people through a bad patch by talking to them. In addition, Frances has been involved in fundraising, baking (her baking skills are legendary) and transport. Frances has been involved with the Red Cross for 30 years, spending a lot of her time transporting patients to appointments in and around New Plymouth. She visits the hospital frequently, taking magazines, books and of course baking, and helps out with fundraising. Frances helped with Meals on Wheels for 18 years and has worked with the women’s section of the RSA, assisting in the kitchen, collecting on Poppy Day and attending Anzac services. A member of the Buffalo Lodge for 21 years, Frances was involved in the workings of the organisation while also helping members with anything they required. While a member, Frances achieved their highest rank of Lady Primo. Frances and her late husband were members of the local Pistol Club and spent many hours in the kitchen preparing and serving meals for members during events held for visiting teams. Bruce Richards (NP) Bruce has been involved in voluntary roles within the community for more than 20 years. A trustee of the New Plymouth YMCA for six years in the 1980s, Bruce is now Chairman of the Y Community Stadium Trust – of which he has been member since retiring as trustee. Bruce was a Trustee of Merrilands Primary School from 1987 to 1993, and of New Plymouth Girls’ High School from 2001 to 2007. He was also one of three founding trustees for the Taranaki Arts Festival (and has remained a trustee since 1990), and is a trustee for the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust since the trust was incorporated in 1991. Bruce provided voluntary professional assistance to Southcare, a South Taranaki Community Paroject that was set up by combining a number of medical practices in South Taranaki. A member of the New Zealand Snowboard Association since 2002, Bruce is currently Treasurer and an Executive Member. Bruce and his family became members of the Stratford Mountain Club in the 1970s. He has been a member of the executive since 1978 and was elected as President in 1992, serving for three years. Bruce was awarded a life membership of the Stratford Mountain Club in 2000. Bruce was on the Executive of the New Zealand Surfing Association from 1970 to 1972. In 1987 the New Plymouth Surfriders Club was formed, of which Bruce was one of the 67 foundation members. He has been the honorary auditor since the club was formed. Bruce is also the honorary auditor for the New Plymouth Joggers and Walkers Club, Waiwaka Tennis Club, YMCA Community Stadium Trust, Friends of the Art Gallery, Taranaki Paraplegic Association and the Taranaki Branch of the Accident Support Services of New Zealand. Nigel Austin (Inglewood) Nigel has been involved with the Inglewood Cricket Club since the 1970s, having been on the committee for more than 20 years (and is still President today). After being on two jubilee committees (the 100th and 125th), Nigel was made a life member. In addition to his work on the committee, Nigel has spent endless hours helping build the clubrooms, was responsible for laying three artificial wickets in the community, prepared the grass wicket used for premier and senior grade matches and spent 10 years as a member of the competitions committee with the Taranaki Cricket Association. A founding member of the Inglewood Runners and Walkers Club, Nigel was made a life member in recognition of the voluntary positions held over the last 34 years. He has been involved in events such as The Mountain to Surf Marathon, Round the Mountain Relay and Nexans/Olex Fun Run Walk Series. Nigel has always been a great ambassador for running, taking the time to pass on his knowledge, enthusiasm and support to young people. Nigel has been involved in Search and Rescue Taranaki in excess of 15 years and took it upon himself to maintain the Taranaki SAR remote field kitchen, which is a valuable asset to the team. He has been involved with TET Athletics Taranaki for countless years, volunteering in track and field, cross-country and road events along with major events hosted on behalf of Athletics New Zealand and New Zealand Secondary Schools. Nigel has been a member of the Inglewood United Rugby Football for more than 60 years, being involved as a player, coach and committee member. He is the first man at working bees and fundraising events, spends eight hours marking out the main field, and on game day he’ll be at one of the entrance gates greeting fans. Nigel is involved in the Inglewood Community Garden Project which supports families in need, and was also part of the organising committee for the Kaimata School and District 125th Jubilee in 2015. He is also responsible for checking, clearing and resetting a stoat line on Upper Dudley Road in Inglewood, and has helped with the eradication of pests for the Conservation Department in Purangi District. Alistar Jordan (Egmont Village) Alistar has had a long involvement with Taranaki cricket. He played for the province from 1966 to 1992, Central Districts from 1968 to 1981 and New Zealand in 1972. He has served on the committee of the New Plymouth Old Boys’ Cricket Club for 50 years, during which time he has been a player, team captain and coach. He has had a number of leading roles within the club including raising funds and building club infrastructure such as clubrooms, cricket nets and pitches. In addition to this he has served in administration roles for the New Plymouth Old Boys’ cricket club and sports club (rugby, cricket and netball). In 1992 he started coaching, first at New Plymouth Old Boys and then the Taranaki team. He remains a Taranaki selector to this day and coaches on an “as required” basis. In 1991 he was made a life member of the New Plymouth Old Boys’ Cricket Club, and in 2010 a life member of the Taranaki Cricket Association. In 2000 he was appointed an ambassador for the Taranaki Events Centre Trust, the role of promoting the newly development rugby park facility. In January 2011 he was selected by New Zealand Cricket in the Hawke Cup “Team of the Century”, an honour bestowed on only 11 players in the history of the Hawke Cup competition, going back to 1910. In November 2011 he was inducted into the Taranaki Sports Hall of Fame. Geetha Kutty (NP) Geetha has worked tirelessly with the migrant community since Settlement Support closed, on a voluntary basis. Geetha goes above and beyond to make sure that she does all she can to help migrants in need get the services and resources they require. Despite being unsuccessful with some funding applications, Geetha has continued to work for free to ensure that there is a continuity of services and pastoral care available. Geetha has helped retain skilled people in the region despite a flat economy. Graeme and Marise Northcott (Urenui) Graeme and Marise have been involved with the Urenui and Okoki dog trials for more than 40 years, including organising prizes, sponsors, advertising, labour for the courses, social aspects, judging, trophies and of course food. They have always been a community minded couple, and have raised money and spent time keeping the Okoki Hall maintained for community events. Graeme was secretary for the Urenui Club from 1975 to 2006. He was a Taranaki Sheep Dog Trial publicity officer for 12-15 years and served as a delegate for Taranaki to the New Zealand Association, and over the years he has given dog and sheep trial demonstrations to schoolchildren. Graeme has won a number of titles including eight Taranaki Centre, three North Island and two New Zealand titles. He has also won more than 100 hill trials all over the North Island and has judged more than 120 trials, including the North Island Championships and New Zealand Championships in 1995. With great determination and focus, Graeme established an enthusiastic team which began the Indoor Showring Trial at Hawera, which has gone from strength to strength over the last four years. Malcolm Pearce (NP) Malcolm is a local dairy farmer who has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity since it was formed in North Taranaki in 1995. The local board is totally volunteer-based and Malcolm has been a Director for 20 years and the Chairman for six. Malcolm has also served on the National Board representing the Lower North Island region, including Nelson. He has spent an extremely large amount of time overseeing the smooth running of this affiliate, along with helping progress the organisation throughout New Zealand. Having served on the National Board for two years he continues to lead teams of volunteers overseas on Habitat projects at least once or twice a year. Malcolm has served on the Habitat for Humanity Family Selection Committee and is the presenter at their information evenings. He has helped change the lives of families for the better, even when they have not succeeded in becoming a Habitat partner family. He continues to meet with families when they are in strife and helps them find a better solution to progress their lives. Malcolm is also an Elder at Northpoint Baptist Church in Bell Block. Anand Rose (NP) Anand is an exceptional champion of local art, music and musicians. A quiet community hero, he is making a big difference in our community. He is a promoter, a musician, MC, radio host, event organiser, sound engineer, graphic designer, social media expert, journalist, filmmaker and marketer. He co-founded Singer-Songwriters New Plymouth, is responsible for the Pop Up Gigs Network, and is the founder of Epic Sandwich (a collaboration of Taranaki artists who perform in New Plymouth weekly) and countless other events, bringing commerce to local performance venues. He pulls together seemingly impossible events at short notice, including major fundraisers for the Pacific Islands following the 2009 tsunami and for Canterbury after the earthquakes. Anand was instrumental in promoting the 48-Hour Film Festival within Taranaki and always encouraged and supported many young and inexperienced filmmakers to participate and showcase the region’s talents. Anand is an advocate of local original talent and has fostered and grown the hopes and dreams of many. He gives himself to supporting developing talent and championing artist exposure. Colleen Tuuta (Bell Block) Colleen Tuuta is well known for her proactive community engagement in a wide spectrum of activities, both at a grass roots voluntary capacity and in roles of statutory responsibility. Colleen was a director of TSB Bank for six years and also the Chair of the TSB Community Trust where she personally oversaw the development of the trust so that it was not only more responsive to the needs of the community but was also managed professionally. She has also been very active in the Maori community, both locally and nationally, where her high level of people skills, a keen perception of what needs to be done to improve performance, excellent writing and presenting skills and a dedication to any task presented to her have resulted in her being sought to undertake a number of Government contracts. Her role with the Te Kaumatua o Whaitara Community Group includes building up members’ cultural confidence and engaging them in social and wealth creation enterprises. She has also been Chairperson for Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki, a board member for Ngati Mutunga and a ministerial appointee for the whanau reference group the Families Commission. She is quick to respond to requests to assist with fundraising and promotional activities in the community and is also well-known to be a selfless contributor from her own resources. Colleen has also been a promoter of social entrepreneurship and the encouragement of local philanthropy. To further these aims she has been honoured with an Inspiring Communities Scholarship to Canada and was a foundation member of Philanthropy New Zealand.
News National Recognition for Len Lye Centre 22 June 2016 The Len Lye Centre is a finalist for a national award of excellence. The “inspired decision” to create New Plymouth’s Len Lye Centre has been hailed by the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) judges, who describe the centre as “one of the most internationally heralded arts and culture construction projects in recent years”. The Creative New Zealand Excellence Awards, now in their third year, recognise and celebrate the outstanding leadership role local government plays within communities. New Plymouth District Council is a finalist in the Best Creative Place category for the internationally acclaimed centre at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Mayor Andrew Judd says the award recognises the contribution arts and culture initiatives can make towards creating a more prosperous town, city, district or region. “The Len Lye Centre has been praised nationally and internationally and I’m thrilled that Local Government New Zealand has recognised not only the high calibre of the museum, but also its contribution to the wider community,” he says. Judges praised the Len Lye Centre – which houses the collection and archive of the internationally renowned artist – as an “internationally significant place which recognises one of New Zealand’s preeminent sons”. Judges said the centre was a wonderful partner for the Puke Ariki Museum, and acknowledged the commitment from the community in raising funds for it. Major contributions came from the TSB Community Trust, Todd Energy, Ministry for Arts Culture and Heritage, New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and private sponsors. LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said being named as a finalist is an impressive achievement especially considering the calibre of entrants this year. “Local government is the lifeblood of New Zealand’s communities and makes contributions to people’s lives on a daily basis,” he says. “These Excellence Awards are a chance to celebrate the great work of local government in helping shape the places where we all live, work and play. “The 25 finalists have demonstrated innovative, courageous and creative leadership in work that provides strong benefits to community, economic development, infrastructure, the environment and arts and culture,” says Mr Yule. This year saw more entries than previous years, including many exceptional projects, and Mr Yule says it was pleasing to once again see a number of smaller councils featuring among the 25 finalists. Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of EQC Sir Maarten Wevers and The New Zealand Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich. Category winners will be announced at a gala dinner during the LGNZ Conference, to be held in Dunedin from 24 to 26 July.
News Lights Vandalised on Churchill Heights 21 June 2016 Improvements to Churchill Heights in New Plymouth lasted only a fortnight before vandals wrecked them in a single night. The Council had replaced the eight lights in the public reserve with new LED lights, which cast a brighter, whiter light and are more energy efficient. However during the weekend, rocks were thrown at four lights and three were damaged, which will cost nearly $7,000 to replace. “It’s very disappointing to see these new lights damaged so quickly,” says Manager Parks and Open Spaces Stuart Robertson. “If anyone saw or heard something that could be related to the vandalism, please let us know or call the police.” The new lights are part of a general refurbishment of the reserve with the area recently cleaned and treated for moss and mould, and three new seats due to be installed shortly. The damaged lights will be fixed in August once replacement parts have arrived.
News Waitara Bill Includes Greater Support for Leaseholders 20 June 2016 Greater support for leaseholders will be included in the Bill that goes to Parliament regarding the Council’s Waitara endowment lands. The amendments to the proposed Bill were made at today’s (Monday) Council meeting, when Councillors considered the public submissions received. The two amendments are: Bringing in a one-year transition period during which the price to freehold will be fixed to the unimproved land values from the day the legislation comes into force. Bringing a report to the Council on an administrative package to support leaseholders in the freeholding process, to ensure vulnerable leaseholders are not exploited. Mayor Andrew Judd says the one-year transition period would give leaseholders some breathing room to make their decisions and arrange finance without concerns over land price inflation. “I’m proud of what the Council has achieved with this Bill,” says the Mayor. “It’s not the ultimate solution because everyone has had to make some compromises, but we’re about to remove an issue that has caused angst in Waitara for a very long time. “But the job’s not over yet. We’ll be submitting this Bill to Parliament and we’ll be lobbying the politicians to make sure this gets through without a hitch.” Key parts of the draft Bill include: Some land in Waitara will be transferred to Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust, and the trust will have the right of first refusal on other blocks of Waitara land. Leaseholders will receive a right to purchase the freehold title to their property, for the unimproved land value and administrative costs, with no time-limit imposed. The freeholding right will continue even if the lease was sold. Leaseholders who do not exercise this right will be able to continue to rent their land. The funds from the leasehold land – both rents and proceeds from sales – will be put back into the Waitara community as a priority. The money will be divided between both New Plymouth District Council and Taranaki Regional Council, and both councils have committed to investing the money back into the Waitara community. The Crown’s attempt in 1860 to purchase 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. Currently NPDC is largely restricted, through the Waitara Harbour Act 1940, to using rental income from the Waitara endowment lands for the prevention of erosion at the Waitara River. This Bill would remove those statutory restrictions and enable rental and sales proceeds to be used for the wider benefit of the Waitara community.
News What Are You Missing on Rural Roads 20 June 2016 Rural residents throughout Taranaki will soon receive road safety messages in the mail as part of the What Are You Missing campaign. Manager Transportation Carl Whittleston says rural roads have their own challenges for road users, including narrow berms, no footpaths, no streetlights and changing road cambers. “We also have school children waiting roadside for buses, slow-moving farm machinery and sometimes livestock on the roads,” he says. “Runners, walkers, bikers and drivers are sharing these roads so it’s important to take steps to be visible and aware of all road users. People on rural roads – and on urban roads as well – need to always be prepared for what could be around the corner.” An information pamphlet is being delivered to all rural delivery addresses later this week with tips on how to stay safe as well as useful advice from a rural resident who runs regularly on country roads. Also, Shell Todd and the Taranaki Rural Support Trust will discuss rural road safety at community meetings and hand out giveaways. Safety tips include: Look and think ahead when driving. Slow down when coming into a section of sun strike or shading, or approaching a stationary bus. Look twice. When you quickly scan the road your brain picks up only what it expects to see, so take a second look. Be seen if heading out for a walk, run or ride – wear bright colours and make sure you can hear what’s happening around you. Children are often on the roadside waiting for the bus from 7am to 8.45am and returning between 3.15pm and 4.30pm, so slow down and be alert. The What Are You Missing campaign is supported by Shell Todd, New Plymouth injurySafe, Road Safe Taranaki and New Plymouth Police.
News Good Results from Public Survey 14 June 2016 The district’s improved rubbish and recycling service has received a big tick of approval in this year’s survey of public satisfaction with New Plymouth District Council. Almost nine in 10 survey respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the service, which was introduced in October last year. In other notable outcomes the Council again received higher satisfaction ratings than peer local authorities* in numerous areas including car parking, sewerage, swimming pools, water supply and roads. There was also high satisfaction with the quality of life in the district with 76 per cent of respondents describing it as very good and 22 per cent as good. Mayor Andrew Judd says: “We’ve had some really pleasing results from this year’s survey – the satisfaction levels with our rubbish and recycling service are particularly encouraging. “There are some less positive results that we’ll need to address but overall the survey suggests people are largely happy with Council services and facilities.” The survey found that 84 per cent of respondents were satisfied with how rates are spent on services and facilities – an improvement on 82 per cent in the 2015 survey and 80 per cent in in 2014. Sixty-one per cent of respondents said there was something the Council had done well in the past year, up from 57 per cent in the 2015 survey and 52 per cent in 2014. The telephone survey was conducted on the Council’s behalf during February by the National Research Bureau. Some 402 people were interviewd, across New Plymouth, Clifton, Inglewood, Kaitake and Waitara. * Peer local authorities include Ashburton, Gisborne, Hastings, Rotorua, Taupo and Whakatane district councils.
News Football's A-League Coming to Yarrow Stadium 09 June 2016 Get your scissor-kicks and diving headers ready: football’s A-League is coming to New Plymouth for the first time! The Wellington Phoenix will be at Yarrow Stadium on Waitangi weekend, Saturday 4 February 2017 for their match under lights against the Western Sydney Wanderers. This will be the Phoenix’s first A-League game at the stadium although their second match overall, having taken on a New Zealand A team at Yarrow in 2015. Mayor Andrew Judd says the A-League match is great news for local football fans. “It does wonders for young footballers to see live the players they’ve followed for years on TV – it’s inspirational and this top-grade match will give the sport another boost in Taranaki,” he says. “We intend for the Phoenix players and support staff to feel like they’re on home territory when they take on the Wanderers.” Phoenix General Manager David Dome said the club was thrilled to be playing its first A-League match in New Plymouth. “We played a pre-season match here against a New Zealand Football select side in August last year and everything about that match was excellent – the facilities, the hospitality and the organisation. “The Club thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we were keen to replicate that for an A-League match which will be seen by 200 million people around the world. “We hope the people of Taranaki get their tickets for what promises to be an exciting match against last season’s finalists Western Sydney Wanderers” At A Glance Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers, Hyundai A-League, at 7.35pm on Saturday 4 February. Tickets go on sale in September through and TSB Showplace, and will also be available at the venue on game day.
News Decisions Made on Annual Plan 2016-2017 09 June 2016 The average residential ratepayer in New Plymouth District will have a 2.7 per cent rates rise in 2016/17 following today’s public hearing of submissions on the Draft Annual Plan. “That equates to about $1 a week more for the average residential ratepayer,” says Mayor Andrew Judd. “This is part of the total general rate-take rising by 3.6 per cent, which is lower than the 4.6 per cent forecast in the Long-Term Plan for 2016/17.” Following today’s hearing, the Council gave the go-ahead for three key proposals in the Draft Annual Plan 2016/17: Providing funding for a study to redevelop the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre. Providing an additional $100,000 to the Council’s events venues for enhanced business development. Bringing in an extended trial of free time-limited Saturday car parking in New Plymouth’s CBD. The parking trial will run for 12 months from July 2016 to June 2017. Mayor Judd says the Council’s focus is on enabling the aquatic centre and event venues to achieve more of their potential for the benefit of the public. “There are clear pressures on the aquatic centre, especially on the indoor pools during winter, and we expect this study will show us how we can resolve this issue,” says the Mayor. “As for the additional venues funding, that’ll help our major events facilities be more competitive in a very competitive national market.” Councillors also wanted a year-long trial of the free Saturday parking to get more information on any positive effects for retailers. “We received a lot of valuable feedback on these three key proposals – as well as other matters in the community and in the draft Annual Plan – and I want to thank everyone who took the time to have their say,” says the Mayor. The Annual Plan includes $37 million of capital projects across Council activities including wastewater treatment, roading, water supply, LED streetlighting, digital customer services and stormwater drainage. The Council will formally adopt the Annual Plan at its meeting on 28 June.
News Work Begins on Bell Block Walkway 09 June 2016 A new walkway to connect two residential areas is being built in Bell Block. Currently, residents on Silvan Place and Coby Sydney Drive are separated by a creek. The new metal-surface path includes a bridge to span the creek, and will be part of a walkway that will eventually connect to the coast. “This part of Bell Block is a developing residential area,” says Manager Parks Operations Stuart Robertson. “As the suburb grows, the walkway will grow with it.” The cost of the $40,000 walkway is coming from the Council’s Parks Strategy and Management Plan Implementation Fund. The walkway and bridge will be finished by the end of the month, depending on the weather.
News Report on Sewage Spills Released 07 June 2016 A report on three sewage incidents involving the Waitara Pump Station and the Waitara to New Plymouth sewage pipeline has been released by New Plymouth District Council. The Council’s inspections and review of data have shown the three incidents earlier this year were unrelated events that involved mechanical, electrical and process issues. As a result, the Council is undertaking a series of improvements to its control programmes, the operation of the Waitara Pump Station and notification of unauthorised discharges. The Council is also investigating possible improvements to the operation of the sewage reticulation near the Waitara Pump Station and improvements to protect the joints of sewage pipes beneath bridges. “Whenever we have an incident on the sewerage network, we learn from it and improve our management practices,” says Manager Infrastructure David Langford. “We can reassure residents that our sewerage system performs well against national benchmarks, both for the number of sewage overflows and our response times to incidents. “What we had here were three high-profile but unrelated incidents that just happened to occur within weeks of each other.” The three incidents were: 13 February: Faults to both milliscreens at the Waitara Pump Station resulted in an overflow through the Waitara Marine Outfall. Issues with the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), which controls the automatic operation of the pump station and raises alarms, are identified and fixed. 26 March: Sewage leaks from a joint in the Waitara to New Plymouth pipeline where it crosses the Waiongana River. A blown gasket, likely due to heat expansion causing the gasket to tear against the bolts holding it in place, was identified as the cause. The pipe was cut so that the damaged gasket could be removed and a new gasket was installed. A special gibault was required to reconnect the pipe where it was cut. 30 March: A circuit breaker at the Waitara Pump Station trips, resulting in loss of power to the PLC which caused the back-up battery power supply to take over. While operating on back-up power the pump station appeared to be operating normally until the batteries ran out of power and the PLC shut down, causing the pump station to also shut down. This resulted in an overflow through the Waitara Marine Outfall. The report shows that New Plymouth District’s wastewater system treats more than 27 billion litres of wastewater every year – the same volume as 10,800 Olympic swimming pools. Most overflows are caused by high rainfall flooding the system. In the 12 months from April 2015 to April 2016, 48 overflows (56 per cent) were caused by high rainfall, 13 (27 per cent) by pipe blockages or breaks, and seven (14 per cent) by mechanical or technical breakdowns. In Water New Zealand’s annual national performance review, New Plymouth District ranks 28th (out of 41 participating districts) for the total number of overflows – a rank that improves to 21st when excluding high rainfall events. Also, NPDC has the fourth-fastest average time for responding to and resolving sewage overflows. “There were also questions about how the Waitara sewage system compares to Oakura’s, regarding their comparative costs and operation,” says Mr Langford. “This report shows there is no quality gap and no tangible difference between the two systems.” The report will be considered by the Council’s Monitoring Committee at its meeting on Tuesday next week (14 June). Help keep our sewerage system healthy More than a quarter of sewage pipe problems are blockages caused by what we flush down the toilet. What not to flush: Food or fat. Sanitary items. Wet-wipes, cleaning wipes and facial tissues. Bandages. Anything else that doesn’t dissolve in water. What to flush: Faeces and urine. Toilet paper.
News Grassy Slopes Tamed by Yellow Spider 02 June 2016 If you see a table-sized yellow machine in our parks that looks like a large, square Roomba – well, you’re not far from the truth. New Plymouth District Council is using a new Spider lawnmower to tackle slopes above 30°, and it’s run by one person with a remote control. “The controls look like a beefed-up X-Box controller and the ‘driver’ can stand safely on the flat while the Spider tackles the slope,” says Manager Parks and Open Spaces Stuart Robertson. Previously, grass on slopes greater than 30° was cut with a hydro-mower (using an extendable arm with blades) or weed-eaters, or was left to grow. Mr Robertson says the new remote mower gives the Council more options for maintaining the district’s tricky green areas while keeping staff safe. “Auckland Council uses these on its motorway berms. We can look at a similar use, which would reduce any traffic interruptions caused by closing off lanes due to staff or larger machinery being on site,” he says.
News Repairs to Section of Huatoki Walkway 27 May 2016 Repairs to Huatoki Walkway will require a section of the pathway to be closed for three weeks. The section between Glenpark Avenue and the intersection of Frankley Road and Maratahu Street will be closed from next Tuesday (31 May) while three small slips are removed and a retaining wall is built. “The slips have happened over the last three months and they’re close to the edge of the path, so we’ll close off this area while we strengthen this section of the walkway,” says Manager Parks and Open Spaces Stuart Robertson. Barriers and signs warning people to stay out of the worksite will be erected. During the closure period, the public will be diverted onto Glenpark Avenue and Frankley Road.
News Visit Pukekura Park for Botanic Gardens Open Day 26 May 2016 Locals are being encouraged to explore new areas of Pukekura Park this Sunday (29 May) as part of Australasia’s first national open day for botanic gardens. The aim of the open day is to highlight the achievements of botanic gardens in plant conservation, with more than 74 venues in Australia and New Zealand taking part. “Locals have grown up with Pukekura Park and we often go to our favourite usual places, such as the playground or the Fernery and Display Houses or Brooklands Zoo,” says Curator Pukekura Park Chris Connolly. “What we’d like to do is encourage people to explore a part of the park they haven’t been to for a long time, or that they’ve possibly never visited before, and take note of the variety of plant species around them. “Pick a new walking track and see where it takes you!” The 52ha of Pukekura Park have 14km of walking tracks, two Sister Cities gardens, a native bush remnant that includes a 2,000-year-old puriri tree, and other trees that have been planted as far back as 1851 – just 10 years after the European settlement of New Plymouth. The Fernery and Display Houses has more than 50,000 plants in its collections, with species from around the world. Pukekura Park is a five-star Garden of National Significance and is widely recognised as one of the finest gardens in Australasia. “We’re so fortunate to have this amazing botanical jewel right in the heart of our city that is open every day and free to enjoy,” says Mr Connolly. Australia’s Ambassador for the Botanic Gardens Open Day, Costa Georgiadia, had these words to share about this inaugural national event: “Botanic gardens have gathered centuries of resources and expertise and play a key role in plant conservation. Such work not only conserves threatened plant species, but forms the basis of critical science and research projects looking at some of the most important challenges we face,” said Costa Georgiadis, Ambassador for the Botanic Gardens Open Day. “Botanic garden staff are passionate about their work and we see our role as educating, training and imparting knowledge to ensure our future is in safe hands. “Some of the biggest challenges of our time are being tackled on the botanic garden frontline. We know plants are critical to our lives, but there is still a low awareness in the general community of the work that botanic gardens undertake. That is what the Open Day is all about.”
News New Programme Can Help Revitalise New Plymouth's CBD 25 May 2016 A programme to refresh and revitalise New Plymouth’s CBD is under way. A collaboration of the Council, Taranaki Chamber of Commerce and the Business and Retailers Association, ‘Shaping Our City’ will see three key activities taking place during the coming months: Paint the City, Green the City and Light Up the Laneways. Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts believes the Shaping Our City initiative can help some great outcomes for relatively small costs. “The CBD is performing relatively well but like many provincial city centres, it’s facing a few challenges – but our CBD also has a lot of opportunities,” he says. “It has a great mix of buildings, laneways, activities and some passionate developers and business owners, which is creating a point of difference. It has something unique and cool going on and we want to help that along. “Fortunately that doesn’t have to mean major spending. A lot can be achieved through good ideas and collaboration among people and organisations that share a passion for our city.” Paint the City will encourage more medium-to-large-scale art on CBD Buildings while Green the City will include a precinct-based planting regime for street trees along with the replacement of street furniture. Some of the new furniture is already in place, outside Centre City, with new-look ‘feature seating’ due for installation over spring. Light Up the Laneways will use environmental design to prevent crime and increase vibrancy. Lighting will be brought into some of the CBD’s darker side streets, brightening them up to deter bad behaviour and encourage positive activities such as events and pop-up music performances. The Shaping Our City initiative complements improvements to the CBD approved late last year, which included a dedicated resource to minimise litter and untidy streets, as well as the upgrading of planter boxes, rubbish bins, information signage and seats. It is part of NPDC’s District Blueprint, a spatial plan comprising eight key directions that will guide the Council’s planning for the district over the next 30 years, with ‘central city’ being one of them.
News New Plymouth District Council Backs Vote2016 Campaign 23 May 2016 New Plymouth District Council has confirmed its participation in the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Vote2016 campaign to increase nationwide voter participation in the October local elections to more than 50 per cent. Local election turnout has been declining since the 1980s and only 42 per cent of New Zealanders voted in the 2013 elections, down from 49 per cent in 2010. In New Plymouth District, 51 per cent of voters cast their ballot in 2013 – down from 58 per cent in 2010. Mayor Andrew Judd says: “This is a downward trend that we want to reverse – we don’t want to go below 50 per cent, and in fact the higher we can get that voter turnout the better it is for local democracy.” LGNZ’s Vote2016 campaign will work with participating local councils, national businesses and community organisations to showcase the value local government provides to communities across the country. LGNZ President Lawrence Yule welcomes New Plymouth District stepping up to partner with LGNZ in the Vote2016 campaign and ultimately help build a stronger community through more engaged local democracy. “Partnering with councils is integral to Vote2016. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship focused on building a larger pool of skilled local candidates to stand in their communities and inspiring more people to vote,” said Mr Yule. LGNZ research shows a significant number of citizens are interested in the local government process but don’t vote, or want to vote but say it’s too hard to find the information to make an informed decision. “Vote2016 will support New Plymouth District Council in ensuring voters have access to the information they need about local candidates standing and about the voting process, including when, where and how they can vote,” said Mr Yule. “We’re thrilled to work with New Plymouth District Council in encouraging talented, committed people to stand for office and to vote in your local elections, the most powerful ways to influence positive outcomes in your community,” he said. For more information on standing as a candidate visit
News Local Council Candidates Urged to Come Forward Early 19 May 2016 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is encouraging passionate leaders to get ahead of the game and start thinking about running for their upcoming local council elections now. “Standing for local council is an incredible opportunity for people to have their say about the issues that affect their community directly and develop their leadership skills,” said LGNZ Chief Executive Malcolm Alexander. “While candidate nominations open from 15 July 2016, we want potential candidates to start thinking about their future in local government now, so they have all the support and information they need ahead of the election,” he said. Mr Alexander said ensuring elected representatives had the abilities, diversity of skills and training to respond to major community issues was an important part of a successful election process. “Providing communities with a choice of candidates that they feel confident will make the best decisions for their area is vital. We also hope that a pool of competent and passionate candidates will drive even more citizens to vote this year.” LGNZ recently announced the launch of Vote2016 campaign, which aims to lift nationwide voter turnout in local elections to more than 50 per cent – a first since the 1980s. The national Vote2016 campaign will showcase the value local government provides to communities across the country, with a strong focus on inspiring more New Zealanders to vote, and building a pool of skilled candidates to stand in their communities. Significant support, including governance training and guidance through LGNZ’s EquiP professional development programme, is provided for newly elected members, and ensures a consistent level of capability across the sector. People interested in finding out more about standing as a local council election candidate are encouraged to contact their local council’s electoral officer or visit “We have an incredible pool of talent in New Zealand – dedicated Kiwis who are already becoming leaders in their communities. “Standing for their local council is a great way to step up and have real influence over the key issues affecting their families, friends and communities, and we encourage them to come forward now,” said Mr Alexander.