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Rebate Chance for Low-Income Ratepayers
23 August 2018
Ruth Walker pops into NPDC’s Civic Centre every August and always leaves with a smile. The 74-year-old pensioner is one of more than 2,300 people who benefit each year from the rates rebate scheme. “The fact I can get back a considerable amount is great, and I’ve found it very easy every time,” she says. Getting a rebate depends on how much income a ratepayer has, the size of their rates and the number of dependants living with them. If you earn $42,000 or less per year, give NPDC a call all-year-round to see if you’re eligible for a rebate. Some retirement village residents are able to apply for a rebate, even if they don’t own their own unit. Some owners of owner-occupier flats, and named trustees of trust-owned properties, might also be eligible. Says NPDC Chief Financial Officer Alan Bird: “We’ve had a small team helping people apply for their rates rebates during August and they’ve done a great job. But people can apply for a rebate at any time during the year – just give us a call and we’ll tell you what you need to do.” For more information, contact NPDC on 06-759 6060 or email@example.com.
Huge Thank You for Tornado Response
21 August 2018
Our Civil Defence Team, Fire and Emergency NZ and NZ Police did an awesome job helping those affected by the tornado on Belt Road last night. Here’s some information about the incident. Tornado hit at about 5.30pm yesterday. About 20 properties have been impacted. 11 houses have been seriously damaged and occupants advised to stay with family or friends. One couple are in emergency accommodation. Further assessments are ongoing. Our civil defence team, Fire and Police have been busy helping out. Belt Road Seaside Holiday Park has had some minor damage to its Central Hall room. We’re onsite today cleaning up the tree damage. Central Districts Indoor Bowls club’s hall has been tarped by the Fire brigade and their insurance firm has been notified. Some NPDC facilities like Todd Energy Aquatic Centre were without power for a short period last night. It’s back to normal now. There has been no damage to NPDC’s core services such as our water and road networks. Homeowners are now contacting their insurance companies and are making sure any loose items around their homes are secure. The weather outlook is not great, more rain is forecast. So take care everyone, hunker down at home and keep safe. For regular updates go to Taranaki Civil Defence Facebook page or ring NPDC 06-759 6060 and ask for our Civil Defence team.
Portable solar powered loo and shower unit for visitor hot-spots
15 August 2018
NPDC is delighted the Government is backing improvements to our facilities for residents and visitors. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has granted $156,000 from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund to enable NPDC to buy a relocatable cubicle with two toilets and a shower. The Taranaki-made solar-powered cubicle will send an alert when its septic system needs emptying. The MBIE funding also covers improvements for managing sewage, rubbish and signs at the Waiwhakaiho River mouth, including Big Belly Bins that compress rubbish and send an alert when they need emptying. Mayor Neil Holdom says he appreciates the effort Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis is putting into working with local government on tourism infrastructure. “We’ll trial one of these portable units at a freedom camping site this year to see how it copes with demand. It’s an example of thinking differently and finding out if we can meet community expectations with local ingenuity,” says the Mayor. “The idea of a portable toilet is nothing new but the idea of a Taranaki-made, robust, fully self-contained off-grid system with two toilets and a shower, solar panels, water and septic tank, which we can move around to where it’s needed, is something new for NPDC. We could even use it for big events or during emergencies.” NPDC is currently considering which proposal for freedom camping it will send out to the public for their feedback. “Whatever the outcome of that consultation we know that during summer the facilities at Waiwhakaiho will be stretched, and our people have expressed real concern about overuse, litter and related health risks. The Tourism Infrastructure Fund’s investment in improved facilities for everyone at Waiwhakaiho will help us meet growing demand at this busy spot and avoid possible environmental harm without hitting ratepayers in the pocket,” he says.
Eyes in the Sky Save NPDC Time and Money
10 August 2018
From flying planes in the Outback to flying a drone in Taranaki, NPDC’s Sam Dymond has an eagle eye on our water supply. The Water Treatment Plant Technician used to work in the Australian desert as a commercial pilot but he’s changed his aircraft of choice since joining NPDC last year and now flies a drone to check the district’s water network. Using the drone saves NPDC staff time and money in surveying hard-to-get-to places in the district. “It’s an easy and cost-effective way to look at the roofs of reservoirs or pipes that are far from a road,” says NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright. “Ordinarily we’d have to get our staff into full health and safety gear before sending them up to the top of a reservoir, but now we can ditch the harnesses and fly a drone in a fraction of the time.” As well as flying a drone for NPDC, Sam, who has previously worked in the oil and dairy industries, calibrates and tests the equipment at all four water treatment plants to make sure they are up to the National Drinking Water Standards. Says Sam: “Drones are quick and easy to use. It’s a simple hi-tech solution that saves time and money and removes the risks of working at heights. “I really enjoy being a water treatment operator. It’s such an important job as everyone in the community relies on us to provide safe drinking water. Every day is different and we’re always kept on our toes.” NPDC is just one of a handful of councils in New Zealand that use drones for water supply inspections, and NPDC has just completed a drone inspection programme. NPDC operates four water supply networks in the district, comprising more than 800km of pipes and 17 reservoirs. It costs more than $10 million a year to maintain and operate the networks, delivering clean and healthy drinking water to about 28,250 households.
Mountain bike heaven
02 August 2018
NPDC's Lake Mangamahoe set for 10km of extra trails
Elvis always on the mind for elderly NPDC tenant Gladys
29 June 2018
Gladys Hopkinson doesn’t have a pair of blue suede shoes, but at home in her NPDC Housing for the Elderly flat she does put her feet up in her favourite Elvis slippers. She’s been sharing her home with The King for more than 10 years, with Elvis memorabilia covering walls and shelves, and filling her wardrobe too. Gladys, 81, has lived in an NPDC unit for 22 years and says it’s helped her stay independent and keep serving the community as a volunteer driver for other elderly folk. “I’ve always loved music and there’s something about Elvis that’s just so fascinating. After I became interested in him, friends and family started giving me things related to Elvis,” Gladys says. NPDC has 140 units to let to elderly residents in New Plymouth, Bell Block, Waitara and Inglewood. The service is entirely self-funded from rents, with no money from rates, and tenants have to prove their financial need and be 65 or over to qualify. The number of elderly in the New Plymouth District is rising and demand for the units is high, with a waiting time of up to three years. “All our units are well cared for and we encourage the tenants to take pride in their homes,” NPDC Chief Financial Officer Alan Bird says. “NPDC’s Housing for the Elderly gives tenants security that enables them to live independently and remain active in the community,” Mr Bird says. “It also gives them a home close to family in communities across the district.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Airport terminal contract keeps jobs in Taranaki
18 June 2018
Local construction firm Clelands Construction is to build New Plymouth Airport’s new multi-million dollar terminal, providing a major boost for the Taranaki economy. The board of the airport company, Papa Rererangi i Puketapu (PRIP), has confirmed the award of the contract after a competitive tender, with local suppliers and sub-contractors being used wherever practical. Clelands was chosen from three tenders, says New Plymouth Airport Chief Executive Officer Wayne Wootton. “In the end, after a rigorous tender evaluation process, the contract was awarded for professionalism and the best value for money. We’re on a journey to transform from a 1960s airport to a modern regional gateway, pivotal to our regional tourism strategy. Clelands will be working closely with the airport company and Puketapu hapu to build a distinctive terminal that celebrates Taranaki’s heritage,” says Mr Wootton. Clelands Managing Director Michael Braggins says the company is grateful for the opportunity to deliver the project and has an experienced construction team ready to go. “The timing of this announcement should provide a level of optimism for local subcontractors and suppliers following recent negative press related to potential restrictions being imposed on the oil and gas and dairy industries,” says Mr Braggins. “The new terminal building is a key part of the tourism infrastructure contributing to delivering on our regional economic development strategy's commitment to the visitor sector. Tourism isn't today's buzz word, it's real, and we are currently at the front end of several tourism and hospitality projects that will be delivered with local resources over the next few years." The current terminal was built in the 1960s to cater for 50,000 passengers a year but now has 440,000 travellers passing through annually. The terminal redevelopment project will be funded entirely from airport revenue at a cost of approximately $21.7 million to $28.7 million.
Wonderful Waitara set for Walkway and Water Works
15 June 2018
Waitara’s good times are continuing to gather pace with a number of high-profile NPDC projects in the pipeline from the Coastal Walkway extension to solving long-running water issues. The town has been on a roll this year with construction booming, the opening of the new Clifton Park Sports and Community Hub and now further major investment is on its way thanks to NPDC’s 10-year work programme. “It’s fantastic the Coastal Walkway extension from Bell Block to Waitara has received the green light. It will stimulate the local economy, encourage locals to be more active and attract visitors,” says NPDC Councillor Colin Johnston. Initial engagement with the Airport and hapu is underway and will inform the details of the project. Work on the long-awaited project to link Waitara to the district’s award-winning Coastal Walkway is set to start next year with $4 million from NPDC matched by funding from the NZ Transport Agency. The 10-Year Plan includes investment in the town’s water network including: • $14 million to renew ageing sewer pipes • $9 million to improve the town’s storm water systems • $6 million to improve wastewater pump stations across the district. Another area of focus is a new fishing area at Waitara’s Marine Park which will open up the river mouth to all anglers including those in wheelchairs. The project is planned for the 2019-2020 financial year and is expected to cost about $65,000. NPDC has also helped a Waitara history group to preserve three of the town’s oldest buildings thanks to a concessional ground lease. Two former jail buildings – the Harness Room built in the 1880s and the Jail House dating from early last century – sit on the Memorial Place site alongside Rose Cottage, which was also built in the 1880s. The lease of $1 a year was granted to the Waitara District History and Families Research Group by NPDC which guarantees the buildings will remain in the community until at least 2031.
NPDC park project helping make Sugar Loaf Islands pest-free
08 June 2018
Predator traps built and laid by New Plymouth schoolkids and NPDC are helping to secure a safe home for native birds and reptiles on the Sugar Loaf Islands (Nga Motu). Students at Francis Douglas Memorial College made 26 traps and set them at NPDC’s Centennial Park. Together with NPDC’s 24 traps, they will create a barrier to help stop rats and other predators swimming out to the islands and assist in the goal of creating New Zealand’s first predator-free region. The project is being run with Taranaki Mounga, which aims to restore and preserve the native biodiversity around the mountain, the Pouakai and Kaitake ranges and the islands. The trapping programme is a major step towards growing community involvement in the work, says Liam Hodgetts, NPDC Group Manager Strategy. “This project focuses on sustainability and protecting our biodiversity for future generations,” says Mr Hodgetts. The islands are important for 19 species of seabirds and provide nesting grounds for about 10,000 birds. They’re also one of the last outposts for the nationally endangered Cook’s scurvy grass (Lepidium oleraceum), a New Zealand native herb. The area is also a home for the gold-striped Taranaki gecko, the region’s only native lizard. The students will lay another 22 traps in Centennial Park next year and other agencies plan to lay another 15 traps on steeper parts of the park. Taranaki Mounga is working with community groups, schools and iwi to restore and protect native wildlife around Egmont National Park and create an ecological corridor that extends from Mounga to Moana (Mountain to Sea). Last month, the Taranaki Regional Council launched the Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki project after receiving $11.7 million from the government’s Predator Free 2050 fund. The aim is to eradicate stoats, rats and possums from the region and is expected to cost $47 million in the first five years. NPDC and other Taranaki councils are partners in the project along with the Department of Conservation, Wild for Taranaki, Taranaki Mounga, iwi and other groups.
NPDC 10-Year Plan takes Coastal Walkway to Waitara
07 June 2018
Extending the Coastal Walkway from Bell Block to Waitara, new measures to improve our Water Resilience and going Zero Waste by 2040 are the focus of the NPDC’s 10-year work programme. The $2.3 billion draft 10-Year Plan was yesterday approved by NPDC councillors and Mayor Neil Holdom, ushering in a major programme of works the highlights being the strengthening and upgrading of our drinking water network, boosting recycling and cutting waste, as well as the extension to the award-winning Coastal Walkway. Around $4 million has been set aside to fund the extension which will be matched by the NZ Transport Agency with work set to commence in 2019. A mayoral recommendation approved at the extraordinary meeting included removing the sale and development of any part of Peringa Park and removing the redevelopment of the TSB Stadium and the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre from the 2018-2028 Long-Term Plan. In terms of bottom-line rates, over the next three years the average residential ratepayer will pay: 2018 - 5.9%, 2019 - 3.9% and 2020 - 3.9%. Just some of the many projects in the 10-Year Plan include: • About $6 million for community libraries. • About $5 million for Let’s Go to boost road safety and improve infrastructure. • About $5 million for economic development including $350,000 a year to implement the Tapuae Roa action plan. • About $2 million in year three to provide Coastal Walkway rail safety improvements. • About $1 million for the Mangorei Road car park at the start of the Pouakai Crossing. • About $290,000 for improved Marfell suburb road connections. • About $200,000 to revamp the Bellringer Pavilion Changing Rooms in Pukekura Park. • About $60,000 for improvements to the East End Skate Park. The 10-Year Plan will now go to Audit New Zealand for review and then it will be adopted at a council meeting on 27 June.
Safety upgrade coming to Inglewood intersection
31 May 2018
NPDC and the NZ Transport Agency are redesigning the intersection of Miro and Rata streets in Inglewood to make it easier for all road users to see each other. A schoolgirl died after a pedestrian crossing accident at the intersection in 2017. As a result, NPDC and NZTA removed the pedestrian crossing in December last year and commenced a safety review of the intersection. NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright says the schoolgirl’s family as well as Inglewood Primary School have been included in discussions about the new intersection layout. The design would see car parking spaces removed near the intersection and the installation of a mid-road pedestrian safety island. Coloured pavers on either side of Miro Street would highlight to pedestrians that they are about to step onto a road. The crossing is located at the point where people are most likely to cross. A letter will be distributed to neighbouring properties advising them of new no-stopping areas that may be put in place to support the safety elements of the design. The parking prohibitions on Miro and Rata streets will be considered by the Inglewood Community Board at its meeting on 26 June.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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Last updated: 28 January 2019