Deco trust looks for more helpers

By Roger Moroney

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CHAT TIME: With the growth in tourist numbers to Napier seeking the Art Deco experience the call has gone out for more volunteers. PHOTO / FILE
CHAT TIME: With the growth in tourist numbers to Napier seeking the Art Deco experience the call has gone out for more volunteers. PHOTO / FILE

The Art Deco Trust is set to stage an open day for potential new volunteers to "come and see" what the organisation was all about in the wake of continuing visitor growth.

"With the amount of visitors that are now coming in we need more people," Art Deco Trust general manager Sally Jackson said.

Back in 2013 there were about 130 volunteers on the books and that had grown to between 150 and 170 today.

She said it would be "fantastic" if they could reach the 200 mark.

The general growth in tourism and the appeal of Art Deco, coupled with the trust's more central location which picked up more foot traffic, especially when the cruise ship passengers were in town, had seen big growth in tour, event and shop visit numbers.

Ms Jackson said they would not be able to function without the support of the volunteers who she said put in the hours on 364 days of the day covering a variety of fronts from hosting tours, helping organise events to assisting in the shop.

"They are the backbone of our charitable organisation and the reason why the trust is so successful in its mission to protect and preserve the Art Deco architecture of Napier."

Ms Jackson described the volunteer crew as a "passionate group of people of all ages" who helped provide a unique experience that visitors could go away and talk about.

"They do so much for Napier and for the region."

The open day, which will take place next Tuesday at the centre between 3.30pm and 7pm, had been arranged to highlight the trust's activities to potential new volunteers of all ages.

"An opportunity to come into the Art Deco Centre and see what the trust is all about."

She said about 10,000 hours of volunteer time was dedicated to projects run by the trust and reiterated that without them it just wouldn't happen.

Volunteers like Sue Page have put in plenty of hours - she began with the trust 15 years ago and said the enjoyment factor had always been high.

"I meet people from all around the globe and have made lifelong friends amongst the team of volunteers and staff at the trust," she said.

Rick Kibblewhite has been on the volunteer books for six years and said it was all about "the whole happy environment - it's the people".

Art Deco shop manager Lynda Begley said she was humbled by the devotion of the volunteers. "It's everything - there's always a cup of tea there or someone is sweeping something up or helping out wherever they can."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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