Giving town a spruce up

TOWN PROJECT: Richard Moore is helping beautify Maungaturoto for its 150th anniversary next year.
TOWN PROJECT: Richard Moore is helping beautify Maungaturoto for its 150th anniversary next year.

Richard Moore isn't just green- fingered in his own garden.

The NZ Gardener magazine Gardener of the Year finalist and his wife Diana have spread their gardening and artistic skills around their Maungaturoto community as well.

They have galvanised people into building, landscaping and tidying up the town ready for its 150th anniversary on November 1 to 3 next year.

And they are doing it without breaking the bank or depending on the struggling Kaipara District Council, now replaced by commissioners to help resolve its $80 million debt issues.

Instead of a nearly $1m budget taking five to 10 years, the town beautification is being done for around $20,000 within two years. That's thanks to volunteer helpers using as much recycled and donated material as possible, like broken concrete for feature walls. Even the old wharf area is being restored.

The Moores earn their living teaching art based on realism, running regular weekend workshops in Auckland, on the North Shore, Whangarei and Kerikeri. Richard, 51, has also done considerable work in garden design, and can show how a garden or project will look in several years once plants have matured.

They have used recycled materials in their own awe-inspiring Maungaturoto subtropical garden, which includes a waterfall, palms, pongas and ferns.

A resident involved in the town beautification suggested Richard put a proposal in after visiting their garden. He spent about four months preparing drawings.

Businesses and residents quickly came on board to put the plan into reality.

Farmers also donated many native plants.

Now results are starting to show, Richard has been asked to do other beautification projects in Mangawhai and nearby townships. Richard says preparation is the key.

"Just sticking in a few flaxes is no good," he says.

The Moores prefer a mix of natives and exotics, balanced by attractive and practical landscaping.

The designs are also based on minimal maintenance in later years.

Jan and Mike Schimanksi of Maungaturoto nominated Richard for the NZ Gardener "green-fingered neighbour" category, which he won.

They say Richard deserves recognition for his achievements, not only from the community but also on a district or national scale.

Visit the website maungaturoto beautificationproject.homestead. com for information.

Dargaville News