Mower keeps group working

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 11:15 04/01/2013
Gavin Hapeta
Jared Nicoll

Team work: Friends of the Papatuanuku Trust, from left, Gavin Hapeta, Cheryl Pinn, Samuel Claughton, Aileen Hurst and Phillip Patel with the trust’s new lawnmower at their home in Waikawa

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A Christmas present from the Picton Lions Club has touched the hearts of a group of intellectually disabled workers.

The Picton Lions Club donated a Masport lawnmower to the Papatuanuku Trust to help it continue its mowing business, which had struggled for much of the year because of faulty gear.

The trust is based in Waikawa and helps four men and two women with intellectual disabilities live independently on its lifestyle block, mucking in with farm work and mowing lawns for Picton residents to earn extra money.

Papatuanuku Trust residential manager Aileen Hurst said the new mower was a fantastic Christmas gift and would be a great help to the guys.

"The lawnmowers were so worn out, they were falling to bits. We seemed to be spending more money on fixing them than we were saving.

"It can be a real pain not knowing if the mowers are going to break down or not when they're trying to get a job done.

"Some days it feels like as fast as we use them we're having to take them in to get them fixed again."

Trustee Tony Cronin contacted the Picton Lions Club to ask for help after learning the trust was having to cut back its business because of the unreliable gear.

The club responded by funding the purchase of a new mower and club member Roger Kett presented it to the trust before Christmas.

Ms Hurst said the group worked hard mowing lawns, using weed-eaters and holding sausage sizzles to earn extra money alongside their benefits which allowed them to take a break and enjoy themselves every few years.

"They put it in a holiday fund - they've been to Australia a couple of times and to Samoa.

"They work hard to get this fund up and they've mowed many, many lawns to do just that."

The trust last took the four men and two women to Brisbane almost three years ago where the group made the most of the theme parks.

They mowed about 18 lawns each week in 2011 but dropped that to about 10 last year to reduce the workload on the gear.

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- The Marlborough Express

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