News and Notices

Big jump in tourists caps NPDC's 2017 success stories 12 January 2018 A big boost in tourism to the region, a near sell-out crowd for Yusuf/Cat Stevens concert, creating a community space in Marfell Park and having a budget surplus were just some of the many success stories for New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) last year. The Lonely Planet had named Taranaki as one of the top two regions in the world to visit in 2017 and this helped to bring thousands of extra international travellers to the province.  Figures from Stats NZ for the year ending October 2017 show a massive 25.3 per cent rise in international guest nights in Taranaki. Overall guest nights in the region were up 4.5 per cent as well.  Lonely Planet had highlighted the NPDC-run Len Lye Centre, Puke Ariki and the TSB Festival of Lights as key attractions worth seeing as well as the Pouakai Crossing and Surf Highway 45. “It’s fantastic to see so many international and national visitors discovering what we all know so well – that our region is very special,” said NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright.  NPDC’s Venture Taranaki is building on the momentum created by Lonely Planet with its My Local Secret campaign to bring in more international and Kiwi visitors.  Notable success stories for the District also included the near sell-out of the TSB Bowl of Brooklands by Yusuf/Cat Stevens in December. About 16,000 packed out the venue for an unforgettable summer’s night.  Other NPDC highlights from last year included: • Marfell Park’s regeneration started with an open space featuring play equipment, a half sized basketball court and a flying fox. • A budget surplus of $13.6 million for the 2016/17 financial year. • NPDC’s drive towards Zero Waste 2050 came top in its Top 10 Focus Areas consultation.  • NPDC’s See it in the City team helping to keep New Plymouth’s CBD thriving with events such as the taste of the NZ Tattoo & Art Festival on Devon Street East. • The new QuickCheck system was installed in libraries to make borrowing books and other items even easier. NPDC's big summer of school holiday fun 05 January 2018 There’s only about three weeks until kids head back to school but New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) has loads on to keep them smiling over the summer. Mums, dads and caregivers looking for something for their young ones to enjoy can head to Puke Ariki, NPDC’s 1500 hectares of parks, five pools, the Govett-Brewster cultural hub, Summer Scene at TSB Festival of Lights, skate parks, the Coastal Walkway and Brooklands Zoo! “We do much more than just look after your roads, waste and water, we also provide a huge amount of fun entertainment, relatively cheaply, for our youngsters. There’s no need to leave Taranaki, it’s right here on our doorstep with stimulating attractions such as Puke Ariki and Brooklands Zoo, 82 kilometres of walkways and 50 playgrounds,” says NPDC External Relations Manager Jacqueline Baker. Govett-Brewster has a packed programme this month with everything from shadow puppets under The Golden Bearing tree created by local artist Reuben Paterson, to dreaming up wearable flouro sculptures for kids to wear on the 24 January Light Parade in Pukekura Park. See for more details.  Head to to check out all the events at NPDC’s libraries across the district. Zappo the Magician will keep kids under 12 entertained at Puke Ariki as well as Bell Block, Oakura, Inglewood and Waitara libraries on 17 and 18 January and there are activities and games in the Museum and library with thousands of books in the dedicated children’s floor. See for more.  Kids won’t believe what mums and dads used to wear as togs when they go to At The Beach: 100 Years of Summer Fashion in New Zealand. Located downstairs in Puke Ariki, the exhibition has everything from woollen bathers to skimpy bikinis.  The hot, dry summer is expected to continue so kids can head to the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre for fun time from 10.30am each weekday. The outdoor area has a pool, diving area and paddling area for toddlers while inside there are slides, a rope swing and a wave machine. NPDC also runs pools in Waitara, Inglewood and Okato as well as the paddling pool for younger kids in Fitzroy. For active kids, the Coastal Walkway is perfect for walking or cycling and NPDC has seven skate parks. NPDC has some beautiful parks for families to enjoy a summer stroll and for younger ones there are nearly 50 playgrounds across the district.  There’s also a packed programme at this season’s TSB Festival of Lights with Summer Scene offering daytime activities for kids and their families. There’s a huge mixture of events including a scavenger hunt on 10 January, circus antics on 12 January, a dance workshop on 15 January and the Zoo Day Out at Brooklands Zoo on 18 January. See for more details.  Finally Brooklands Park will become Jurassic Park again this weekend for Dinofest. There will be three hour-long sessions on 6 and 7 January starting at 10:30am, 1pm and 3pm. Head to to find out more.  95-year-old volunteer a shining light at TSB Festival of Lights 29 December 2017 Dorothy Anderson retired 34 years ago.  But the 95-year-old former New Plymouth teacher loves giving something back to her community, so helps out each summer with the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC)-run TSB Festival of Lights which attracts about 125,000 people over the holiday season. She’s now the longest-serving volunteer at the Pukekura Park festival which is 50 nights of free, live music, family fun and spectacular lights, contributing about $4.7 million to the Taranaki economy (source Venture Taranaki). “It’s lovely to see the kids’ faces light up and it’s so much fun for families. It’s a great chance to meet people from around the world. I believe as people get older it’s important to reach out with voluntary work to keep people interested in their community,” say Dorothy. When volunteering at the Festival, she works at the desk near the Fountain Lake and always finds it interesting to chat with locals and those from further afield. “I’ve just spoken to a French couple who are in New Zealand for a year,” she says.  Getting to know people from across the world has been one of her passions all her life. She’s been a volunteer with Friendship Force which has enabled her to visit more than 26 countries – including Mongolia and many parts of South America.  “In addition to our NPDC staff who work on the TSB Festival of Lights, we have some 50 volunteers helping out whose passion, like Dorothy’s, is the lifeblood of our community and is priceless. We thank them for working tirelessly and giving their time freely,” says NPDC External Relations Manager Jacqueline Baker. Volunteers don’t need any experience but a friendly attitude is important. NPDC has enough volunteers for this season’s festival but phone 06-759 6060 or go to to find out more about helping at next season’s festival. Festival fast facts: • Last season’s festival added nearly $4.7 million in value to the Taranaki economy and brought in 8,000 visitors to New Plymouth.  • The lighting route is 3.5 kilometres of walkways through Pukekura Park. • The TSB tunnel of Light on Poet’s bridge includes 1000 LED light points and more than 150 hours of design and development time. • The lights are on for about 50 nights. • It takes about six weeks to install all the lights and cabling through the park for the festival. It's Christmas but NPDC staff are keeping the district ticking 22 December 2017 It’s the most wonderful time of the year for most of us, but for some New Plymouth District Council staff, Christmas Day means continuing to work for our community. Around 10 staff will be doing the hard yards:  • Parks staff will be working at the Pukekura Park Fernery and Display Houses. • Two keepers will be making sure the animals at Brooklands Zoo get their Christmas dinner like everyone else. • The fine turf team will be moving covers and rolling the Pukekura Park cricket pitch to prepare for the 20/20 match between the Central Districts Stags and the Northern Districts Knights on 30 December. • An animal control officer will be working and an onsite manager from the Events team will work in the evening. • There will be staff on at our water plant and our waste water treatment facility. • On call with be a building maintenance officer and a roading team member. “We provide around-the-clock care for our district that doesn’t stop on Christmas Day. Our staff pride themselves on great service whatever time of the year and we also thank others who are working at this special time,” says NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright. NPDC manages assets worth $2.5 billion, has an operating budget of $130 million. It reliably provides all the core services you’d expect – roads, water and waste – as well as dynamic Parks, Libraries, an art gallery, commercial forestry, a Zoo, Venues such as Yarrow Stadium/TSB Showplace and events such as the iconic TSB Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park. NPDC’s enquiry line (06-759 6060) and email ( will be staffed 24/7 as usual over the festive season. Total hose ban begins in Okato 21 December 2017 A total hose ban is now in place in Okato and New Plymouth District residents are being urged to conserve water.  NPDC says level two restrictions have been introduced in Okato and residents can only use water for essential services and not for things like watering their gardens until further notice. The township’s water source, the Mangatete Stream, has dropped below the levels set in NPDC’s resource consent to take water.  Other public water supplies around the region are also being affected by the early and dry start to summer but for now, using hand-held hoses on the odds and evens system will continue elsewhere in the district. NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford says NPDC is leading by example and being a Wai Warrior by cutting back on its own water use as much as possible. “We’ve already turned off our sprinklers in the central city and we’re switching to hand-watering at the Fernery and Display Houses as much as possible. We have also been hand-watering bedding plants only once a week. “We’re also investigating using an old industrial reservoir that is full of untreated raw water for watering our bedding plants and Central Business plant boxes. The water is safe to use for these purposes but hasn’t been treated to a drinking water standard,” he says. NPDC is asking everyone to become a Wai Warrior and save water around their homes. Small changes to daily water habits can save a lot of water. There are water-saving tips on the Water Usage and Saving Water webpage at In short: • Okato – essential water use only. Ban on hoses, sprinklers and irrigation systems. • Rest of New Plymouth District – hand-held hoses and normal commercial use of water only. Ban on sprinklers, irrigation systems and unattended hoses. Wai Warrior water-saving tips: • The odds and evens system is now in place for everywhere in the District except Okato. If you live at an even-numbered house on the street you can use your hand held-hose on even days and odd-numbered houses on odd days.  • Sprinklers, irrigation systems and unattended hoses are banned. • Hosing the garden? Water the roots not the leaves, soak instead of spraying and do this early in the morning or later in the evening.  • Use a bucket and sponge when you clean your car instead of a hose. • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth, shaving, washing vegetables or doing the dishes by hand. • Use full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine whenever possible, or use the half-load switch. • More Wai Warrior tips are at 10-Year Plan Proposes a Bold Future 18 December 2017 NPDC’s draft 10-year work programme proposes a new way to fund flagship projects and cap annual rates increases by setting up a Land business. This proposal will be debated on Thursday by the Mayor and Councillors at a full council meeting followed by extensive public consultation. “We could recycle a small percentage of public land, such as half of the Fitzroy golf course to generate additional revenue of about $40 million,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. “Half of this money could help pay for flagship projects such as extending the Coastal Walkway to Waitara, big ticket water sustainability work, an aquatic centre redevelopment, a multi sports stadium or other big items which we believe ratepayers will struggle to fund alone. “The other $20 million could be put away to be perpetually reinvested to create a new wealth fund for our grandchildren. “I make no apology for suggesting this bold approach, as I don’t believe our ratepayers can handle a double digit rates hike. We need to strike the balance between rates, revenue, growth, services and the ability of our ratepayers to fund it all. Ensuring that our facilities stay in good condition, our taps continue to run and our services continue at their current level, while committing to a five per cent cap on annual rates increases.” For the average residential ratepayer, the proposed increase in 2018/19 is $1.68 per week (3.9 per cent). The average annual rise over the 10 years of the plan will be approximately 2.9 per cent for the average residential ratepayer, with a cap of five per cent in any one year. For the next 10 years NPDC has a total estimated budget of about $2.09 billion. The day-to-day running of NPDC (operational expenditure) is about $1.6 billion. Investing in existing/new facilities (capital expenditure) is about $491 million.  The 10-year plan proposes a work programme over six broad themes: • Lifestyle: $610 million • On the Move: $399 million • Treasure our Water (Wai Warrior): $263 million  • Prosperity: $189 million • Zero Waste 2050: $175 million  • Flagship projects: $40 million. NPDC is looking forward to public feedback on the draft 10-year plan, including during the formal consultation period in March next year. * Known as the Long Term Plan under local government legislation. NPDC opening hours and services over the holiday period 17 December 2017 Good news! Normal collection days for rubbish and recycling will continue over the holiday period. For a full breakdown of our opening hours and services over the holidays - Click here. Please note the opening hours for the NPDC Dog Pound: Early Close: 22 December 2-3pm  Early Close: 29 December 2-3pm Closed: 25, 26 December and 1, 2 January. Normal operating hours: 27, 28 December (4.30pm-5.30pm) Regular hours resume from 3 January 2018 (4.30-5.30pm). Government joins NPDC in investing in key tourism development 15 December 2017 The Government has delivered an early Christmas present to the people of Taranaki by confirming it will invest around $700,000 in the iconic Pouakai Crossing one-day walk. NPDC will contribute about $240,000 for the project, which will see an off-road car park with toilet and water facilities built at the top of Mangorei Road where the Mangorei Track – part of the Pouakai Crossing – enters the Pouakai Range. A further $1 million will be spent on road safety developments on Mangorei Road in a 50:50 joint venture between NPDC and the NZ Transport Agency. “Sprucing up these facilities continues to build on and leverage the Top Two in the World accolade that Taranaki received from Lonely Planet. It encourages tourism and contributes to Building a Lifestyle Capital,” says Mayor Neil Holdom. This project is part of the Tapuae Roa: Make Way for Taranaki regional economic strategy and weaves into the National Park plan. In the year to October 2017, Taranaki’s domestic visitor numbers rose 4.5 per cent (compared to a 2.5 per cent rise nationally) from to the previous 12 months, and international visitor numbers rose 23.3 per cent (nationally 5.5 per cent). Let's strive for a Zero Waste Christmas says NPDC 15 December 2017 New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) is urging residents to get recycling right this Christmas so we can all give future generations the gift of going zero waste by 2050. From wrapping paper, to empty bottles, to cans, to cardboard from packaging - it can get confusing where it should all go. About 40 per cent of what we throw away in a landfill could have been recycled or composted. NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright said every little bit helps and it costs about $10 million a year to run all of our rubbish services including our landfill and kerbside collection. “We want all our residents to have a fantastic Christmas this year and it would be great if we also think about how much we’re throwing away. Let’s try to change our behaviour to reduce, reuse and recycle. Our Zero Waste 2050 goal is ambitious but we know it’s important for future generations to act now.” It’s important to make sure the right rubbish is going in the right bins otherwise it makes the job of sorting out the recycling much harder. Christmas wrapping paper is fine for the yellow bin but foil should go in red bags. Cardboard and numbered plastics should also go in yellow bins but plastic bags can’t be recycled. And if residents have had a very merry Christmas and have too many bottles for their blue bins, these can be recycled for free. Head to to get info on what to recycle and find out how they can help the push towards zero waste. • NPDC has an app to help you get recycling right as well. Head to the app store on your smartphone and you’ll find it by searching for NPDC Rubbish & Recycling.  Fast facts: • It costs us about $10 million a year to run all of our rubbish services including our landfill and kerbside collection. This is paid for by rates and user fees. • About 60 per cent of our kerbside rubbish is food waste that could be composted. • Each year Taranaki throws out (into the landfill) an entire rugby field worth of rubbish. • That’s about 54,801 tonnes. Or about half a tonne per person. • Being a Zero Waste Hero is easy, using the 3 Rs: – Reduce the waste you create – Reuse what you consume – Recycle the rest. Christmas rubbish fast facts and tips: • There is 10 per cent extra mixed recycling and 20 per cent extra glass at Christmas. • The Colson Rd recycling facility handles 450 tonnes of recycling and 300 tonnes of glass per month.  • Old toys and clothes can’t be recycled – but can be given to the op shop if they are in good condition. • Weird items included for recycling include an imitation Christmas tree, Christmas lights and ham on the bone. The Cat and the Canadian - Summer at the Bowl 08 December 2017 Red Roses with no leaves and Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs are just a few of the unusual requests from artists who play at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands. But these are small details in the years of planning that goes into bringing names like Elton John, Dire Straits, Paul Simon, Sting, R.E.M. and Fleetwood Mac to the Bowl.  And this summer the Bowl will be alive with two international acts within weeks of each other, starting next Saturday night with Yusuf/Cat Stevens and, Canadian rocker Bryan Adams on 4 January with support from Dave Dobbyn and the Jordan Luck Band.  Bringing major concerts to the Bowl can be a long undertaking, sometimes taking years but it’s worth the effort, New Plymouth District Council’s Manager Venues and Events, Ron Murray says. “It’s a very complicated process. We have to fit in with the international touring schedule and it can be tricky,” Mr Murray says. “We started looking at bringing Cat Stevens here about three years ago but it will be fantastic to have such an iconic star at our Bowl next Saturday.” The work the NPDC Venues team does involves liaising with Australian promoters usually about 18 months before the concerts. There’s a huge amount of work behind the scenes as they negotiate with promoters to find which artist would be the ‘best fit’ for the Bowl. It’s also a massive job to convert the public park into a world-class concert venue. At least 100 crew work on setting up seats, installing the stage and sound system and bringing in catering, toilets and other infrastructure to make the venue work. “We have a number of first class venues in New Plymouth and we do very well in attracting top acts. There’s an expectation that we’ll get huge acts coming each year and that doesn’t always happen.  “But one thing that does happen is bands love playing the Bowl and the audiences are fantastic. I remember when Sting said ‘Whose back garden is this?’ and the audience all shouted back ‘Ours’. “A beautiful summer’s evening, with a top act and a wonderful audience, is what the Bowl is all about,” adds Mr Murray. Summer at the Bowl kicks off this Sunday with Christmas at the Bowl. • There are tickets still available for Yusuf/Cat Stevens and Bryan Adams. However NPDC is warning people not to buy from Viagogo as the ticket may have been sold more than once and they will not gain entry to the event.  Yusuf/Cat Stevens concert advice: • No bags larger than A4 (21cm x 29cm) can be brought into the venue.  • All bags will be checked and as part of international security standards we will be operating hand-held metal detectors at points of entry.  • No glass, BYO alcohol or commercial food (takeaways). • Sealed water bottles are allowed. • Full Conditions of Entry can be found on  Airport's 'vision' starts with changes to parking, roads 07 December 2017 Motorists heading to New Plymouth Airport will find changes to the car park and road layout this month. These will be the first phase of the enabling works that lay the groundwork for construction of the new terminal. Entering the airport zone on Airport Drive, motorists will see the speed limit has been lowered from 50km per hour to 30km/h. This will help them adjust to changes in the road ahead and to accommodate traffic movements related to the construction work. The route to the drop-off area and the taxi and shuttle road will divert to the right just past the main car park entrance. The new road layout will help separate airport user traffic from construction traffic going to the new terminal site just to the west of the current terminal. The main entrance to the car park will stay where it is initially, but will be moved southwards (away from the terminal) as work progresses. Part of the northern side car park will be temporarily reallocated to rental cars, while additional public spaces will be created at the southern side. “This is when the vision starts to become reality. Over the coming months, airport visitors will see the new gateway to Taranaki taking shape just to the left of the old terminal as they come along Airport Drive,” said airport Chief Executive Wayne Wootton. “We would urge airport users to give themselves plenty of time when travelling to the airport as traffic movements might be a little slower as people adapt to the works.” In September, the directors of the airport company, Papa Rererangi i Puketapu, said in a report to the Council that they had agreed the proposed design, including the cultural narrative created in partnership with the Puketapu hapu, is fit for purpose. The proposed terminal cost is estimated at between $21.7 million and $28.7 million. Construction of the new terminal is scheduled to start in April next year and it is expected to be operating in the second half of 2019. The new board will be responsible for ensuring it is completed on time and within budget. More than 425,000 passengers and about 150,000 “meeters and greeters” a year currently use the airport terminal, which was originally designed for 50,000 passengers in the 1960s. Airport fast facts • It’s the fourth busiest regional airport in New Zealand. • It’s the gateway to Taranaki and about 425,000 people use it each year. • Air New Zealand (flying to Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington), Jetstar (Auckland) and Originair (Nelson) all use it. • Built in 1967, the terminal is being regenerated at a cost of about $25 million. • Construction starts in April 2018 and will be completed by August 2019. • It’s owned by NPDC and independently managed by a board of directors. Inglewood pedestrian crossing to be removed 05 December 2017 A pedestrian crossing in Inglewood where a schoolgirl died in September will be removed tomorrow. Seven-year-old cyclist Emma Warren died following a collision with a truck at the pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Miro and Rata streets in the north Taranaki town.  NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright says the crossing’s removal follows an independent review and discussions with police, Emma’s family, Inglewood Primary School, the Inglewood Community Board and the NZ Transport Agency. “We’ll continue to work with the NZ Transport Agency, the Primary School and the community board about other options for crossing Miro Street; such as kerb extensions, a mid-road safe spot for pedestrians and the best location for a new crossing,” says Mr Wright. In the meantime, there will be a sign at Miro Street reminding pedestrians to give way to vehicles. “Emma’s death is a tragedy and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends and others in the community who have been affected,” Mr Wright says. As we head into the busy summer holiday season, NPDC is urging all road users to slow down and take care. Stay safe this summer says NPDC 01 December 2017 Summer is officially here and New Plymouth District Council is this season spotlighting beach safety and changing styles. A new partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) will fund weekday lifeguards to help boost summer safety in the district. And NPDC’s Puke Ariki is now showing a new exhibition – At The Beach: 100 Years of Summer Fashion in New Zealand. Running until 18 February, the costumes go from woollen bathers to skimpy bikinis and it explores Kiwis’ love of hitting the beach. The $75,000 annual funding to SLSNZ over the next five years will help fund weekday patrols on three of the district’s beaches over the school holidays.  It will also enable SLSNZ to recruit lifeguards in Taranaki and help teach the public about water safety and being sun smart. SLSNZ’s key message to beach-goers is to swim within the flags, always keep an eye on children, don’t swim alone and to watch out for rocks and rips.  Kelvin Wright, NPDC’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We’ve funded SLSNZ before but we now have a five-year partnership which will provide vital cash for one of our community partners. “We’re delighted to support SLSNZ and its work in keeping people safe this summer.” Antony North, chairman of East End Surf Life Saving Club, says: “The funding is a massive boost to help not only SLSNZ and the clubs, but also ensures that the public can have confidence in swimming at our beaches over the summer months, knowing that they are in safe hands of the regional guards.” Meanwhile At The Beach is now on at Puke Ariki and playfully explores Kiwis’ beach fashion culture. From heavy woollen bathers of the Edwardian era to the skimpy bikinis of the 1970s, the exhibition reveals how society’s attitudes to modesty have changed over time. The exhibition has been curated by the New Zealand Fashion Museum and features more than 100 garments. It also includes a history of East End Surf Life Saving Club featuring film footage and photographs from the club’s bygone days. SLSNZ fast facts: • There are 1,200 rescues nationally each year • There are 74 clubs in New Zealand • 80 beaches will be patrolled over the summer months • The youngest member is 14 – and the oldest is 89! What to do if you’re caught in a rip: • Stay calm and put your hand up and wave it side to side. Even on unpatrolled coastline, this will attract attention, alerting the emergency services.  • Try to fight the urge to swim against the current; this will use up energy that you need to stay afloat while the emergency services arrive. Most people can float for a lot longer than they can swim!  • Lie on your back and let the rip sweep you along until the current weakens. • When the current has subsided, swim parallel to the shore for 30-40 metres before returning to shore, swimming slowly. Be a Wai Warrior and reduce water use says NPDC 29 November 2017 As temperatures rise so has our use of water and New Plymouth District residents are being urged to become Wai Warriors this summer. Wai means water and Warrior is a person who takes on a good fight, in this case, saving water. Every day we use 336 litres of water each, 30 per cent more than the national average. Our main water storage facility holds about 10 days worth of water. Water usage in November was up about 30 per cent on the previous month and many of our waterways are starting to drop with Okato’s Mangatete Stream getting very low. NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford says the district-wide summer water restrictions will be introduced on Monday 4 December until 31 March. “We’re urging all residents to do their bit to save water around the home: take short showers, don’t wash down paths and driveways, and use a bucket and sponge rather than a hose to clean your car.” The water restrictions are on the odds and evens system: hand-held hoses can be used at odd-numbered houses on on odd-numbered days and at even-numbered houses on even-numbered days. Sprinklers and irrigation systems are banned until 31 March. For tips saving water, please click here. Wai Warrior Tips • A typical dishwasher uses 125 litres of water per load, so cram as much in as you can. • Summer gardens can drink 1,000L of water per hour. • Washing your car with a running hose can use up to 400L. • A deep bath can use more than 200L of water but a three-minute shower uses only 80L. Yarrow Stadium open for business as earthquake strengthening work needed on East Stand 28 November 2017 An independent engineering company which looks after Yarrow Stadium says earthquake strengthening work is needed on the East Stand. New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright says it’s early days and NPDC as operator of the venue is waiting for a specialised geotechnical report to confirm this is the case. “As a precautionary measure and as a responsible operator, we are working with tenants (Taranaki Rugby Football Union, KDJ catering) on alternative arrangements. Let’s be clear, Yarrow Stadium is open for business with a venue capacity of 18,000 and it’s just the East Stand that requires strengthening work,” says Wright. In the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes, new seismic rules were introduced and many council operated buildings around New Zealand have been impacted. TSB Festival of Lights brings in tourists, boosts economy 24 November 2017 A survey on the New Plymouth District Council-run TSB Festival of Lights has highlighted the significant contribution the summer spectacular is making to the region’s economy. For the first time in the festival’s history, an economic impact survey was carried out and revealed total spend added a value of more than $4.6 million to Taranaki. Conducted by Venture Taranaki, the survey over the 2016/17 season also shows close to 8,000 visitors made a trip to New Plymouth just to see the festival, stayed an average of three nights and spent about $257 per day on accommodation, food and drink and shopping. NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright says while the Pukekura Park festival is focused on providing a fantastic event for the Taranaki community, it is pleasing to see so many people from outside the region travelling here for New Zealand’s leading light festival. “We all know how lucky we are to have the TSB Festival of Lights on our doorstep, so it’s no surprise that word is spreading and people from outside Taranaki are coming to see what it’s all about,” said Mr Wright.  “We have so many fantastic things happening in our region, and with such a great summer calendar coming together for this season, we hope to see this visitor figure continue to grow as the festival continues.” Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Stuart Trundle says the economic analysis reveals the TSB Festival of Lights to be a significant contributor to the events landscape, with many visitors travelling to New Plymouth to enjoy the lights and entertainment over the summer months.  “The spend resulting from this visitation flows into many sectors of the community including restaurants and cafes, transport, retail and accommodation.  “Over and above these quantifiable outcomes is the contribution the TSB Festival of Lights makes to the vibrancy of the district. It helps to put New Plymouth on the map, makes coming to the district a memorable experience, especially for families, and adds to the desirability of the district as a place to live and visit.” The seven-week festival attracted more than 125,000 people across the 2016/17 season, with 68 per cent of visitors attending more than twice. The total spend by those visitors added a value of $4,686,417 to the region.  With the festival fast approaching, planning is well underway for another jam-packed season of entertaining performances, activities and events for the whole family. This year, in addition to the Summer Scene and On-Stage calendars, a Summer Seniors programme has also been introduced to cater for older folk in Taranaki. Events catering for those over 60 include Pilates, Zumba, marimba and ukulele lessons and music from the Devon Hotel Brass Band.  This season’s TSB Festival of Lights runs from 16 December 2017 until 5 February 2018 and more information is available at Welcoming Freedom Campers While Balancing Costs And Caring For Our Environment 23 November 2017 Public feedback on how to strike a balance between welcoming freedom campers, looking after our environment and being cost effective for our 80,000 residents will be debated at an NPDC public hearing on Monday next week (27 NOVEMBER). There are 110 submissions on the draft Freedom Camping Bylaw and NPDC Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts says a big camping season is expected in the wake of Lonely Planet announcing Taranaki as one of two top regions in the world to visit in 2017. “Councils across the country are struggling to strike the right balance between managing our public places and being welcoming to visitors,” he says. “We’re working on a Freedom Camping Bylaw as our current legal framework has limited options regarding enforcement which we use as a last resort.” While the public hearing is this Monday, the elected members of the NPDC will deliberate and make a final decision at a later date. Kids give Puke Ariki top marks for Home Work art 20 November 2017 Puki Ariki has finished its Home Work – and kids have given it an A-plus for art. More than 27,000 people attended the display of vibrant, contemporary art in the New Plymouth District Council-run library, museum and information centre’s temporary exhibition space which showcased the talents of 65 Taranaki artists.  The event was about getting New Plymouth District people involved in our thriving art scene and more than 1,100 people attended 13 events including workshops, demonstrations and talks to learn about everything from murals to life drawing to on-the-spot sketching. And Home Work: Taranaki Art 2017 proved to be a massive hit with kids. Children went along to workshops and took part in Puke Ariki’s Learning Outside the Classroom Education Programme to find out how they can create their own works of art. They showed their appreciation for the artists by writing postcards explaining why they loved it. Puke Ariki Manager Kelvin Day said he was delighted with the reaction from kids and pleased to see so many people supporting local artists. “Children who attended Home Work have written about being inspired by what they’ve seen – that’s exactly the reaction we’d hope for and shows how important art is in motivating kids to be creative,” Mr Day says. “Home Work has yet again been a fantastic showcase and revealed just some of the diverse creative practice happening throughout Taranaki.” The 65 artworks were selected by Puke Ariki curators Chanelle Carrick and Aimee Burbery and leading contemporary Māori artist Darcy Nicholas. The exhibition also saw the launch of a published version of the hand-printed book by Michaela Stoneman called The Menagerie that was part of the exhibition.  Budding artists who missed out this time can create something special for the next Home Work which is pencilled in for around mid-2020. 'Sharrows' point to safer roundabout cycling 16 November 2017 A new type of road marking designed to improve the safety of cyclists is coming to a New Plymouth roundabout. Sharrows, or ‘share arrows’, will be painted next week at the recently-upgraded roundabout at the Mill/Frankley/Standish/Dawson/Downe intersection. The on-road markings have been used internationally since 1993 to indicate the likely presence of cyclists and motorists in the same lane. “They’ve also been used in Wellington and Auckland for the last three years and they’re useful when there isn’t enough space on the road to build dedicated cycle lanes,” says NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford. “The markings will encourage cyclists to merge with other traffic in the centre of the lane when approaching and going around the roundabout, and they’ll alert motorists that cyclists will be travelling with them in that space. “Cyclists already have to use the road lane when going around a roundabout and these sharrows will encourage road users to be more considerate of each other.” Those riders not comfortable merging with traffic can use the footpath to walk around the roundabout. Australian research shows that sharrow markings increase distances between cyclists and drivers and also increase cyclists’ safety. NPDC will monitor the effectiveness of the sharrows before considering their use at other sites. NPDC manages assets worth $2.5 billion, has an operating budget of $130 million and employs 506 full time staff. We reliably provide all the core services you’d expect – roads, water and waste – as well as dynamic Parks, Libraries, an art gallery, commercial forestry, a Zoo, Venues such as Yarrow Stadium/TSB Showplace and events such as the iconic Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park. NPDC changes gambling policy in a bid to help cut social harm 15 November 2017 New Plymouth District Council has made changes to its Class 4 Gambling Venues Policy to reduce the potential of gambling harm. NPDC will introduce a sinking lid policy for gaming machines in Waitara and a cap of 320 for the rest of the district (excluding Waitara). As a result, if venues in Waitara surrender their gaming machine licences the number of machines permitted within the Waitara area will be reduced. While there is no obligation for venues to surrender machines, the sinking lid sets a potential future reduction in the number of gaming machines in the town from 49 to 25. Currently, the national density of operating machines is 32.7 gaming machines per 10,000 people. Waitara’s density is 70.7 and in the rest of New Plymouth District it is 39.7; if the target of 25 gaming machines in Waitara is eventually reached, the density would be a 36.1 in Waitara. Group Manager Strategy Liam Hodgetts says to help NPDC prepare its draft policies for gambling and TAB venues, a report was prepared on the social impact of gaming machines in Taranaki. “That report showed that Waitara is a high risk community for problem gambling, in part due to the high number of gaming machines in the community,” says Mr Hodgetts. “By reducing the number of machines, as gaming machine licences are surrendered through the sinking lid policy, we help reduce the risk for Waitara residents.” As part of the policy, the rules around inactive (or sleeping) machines (when a venue has fewer machines operating than it is licensed for) has been clarified. Also, changes to both the gambling venues and TAB venues policies ensure that the locational areas of these outlets match those of alcohol venues, so that these venues will not be located near sensitive sites such as schools and churches. NPDC manages assets worth $2.5 billion, has an operating budget of $130 million and employs 506 full time staff. We reliably provide all the core services you’d expect – water, waste and roads – as well as dynamic Parks, Libraries, an art gallery, commercial forestry, a Zoo, Venues such as Yarrow Stadium/TSB Showplace and events such as the iconic Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park.