A pretty town - for just $20,000

MAUNGATUROTO MARVEL: A slice of Richard and Diana Moore’s garden.
MAUNGATUROTO MARVEL: A slice of Richard and Diana Moore’s garden.

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

The NZ Gardener magazine Gardener of the Year finalist and "green-fingered neighbour" category winner and his wife Diana have spread their skills around their Maungaturoto community as well.

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

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

And they're all doing it without breaking the bank or depending on the struggling Kaipara District Council.

The town beautification is being done for around $20,000 within 24 months instead of a nearly $1 million budget taking five to 10 years.

That's thanks to volunteer helpers using as much recycled and donated material as possible.

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.

He and Diana 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 the garden. Richard spent about four months preparing drawings.

Businesses and residents quickly came on board to put the plan into reality. Farmers donated many native plants too.

Results are now showing and Richard has been asked to do other beautification projects in Mangawhai and nearby townships.

But the Moores spend much of their downtime working on Maungaturoto and can't consider anything further afield.

"Just sticking in a few flaxes is no good," Richard 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 competition.

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

Visit maungaturotobeautific ationproject.homestead.com.

Rodney Times