Census deliverers aim to visit every home
Of the 7000 people out delivering census forms this weekend Brian Henstock thinks he's got the best job of all.
Others will be out pounding pavements from today and over the next two weeks but the retired naval man from Picton will be out on a boat in the Marlborough Sounds visiting people from Karaka Point near Picton to the Tory Channel and driving to houses along the Port Underwood Rd between Picton and Rarangi.
Mr Henstock is one of just over 100 census staff in Marlborough who are aiming to visit every house, campsite and hut trying to ensure every person in the region is ready for the census on March 5. Top of the south census manager Anne Smith said there were a lot of challenges to running the count in the district.
"We've got everything in the top of the south: boats, forestry, remote houses . . . one collector goes on a kayak over to an island in the Nelson region. There's a lot of DOC land in Marlborough and a lot of DOC staff trying to catch up with the people out on the walks. The idea is to count everyone on census day, even the visitors."
Mr Henstock also delivered forms for the planned 2011 census, which was cancelled following the earthquake in Canterbury and said he thought Marlborough was one of the toughest places in the country to do this job. Each bach and house on his route had to be visited and if no-one was home he talked to neighbours then returned, visiting up to three times to make sure the dwelling was empty.
New houses which didn't appear on his map had to be logged and camping grounds visited, such as at Curious Cove where 85 children would be staying on census night.
Mr Henstock's job will start again on March 6 when he begins collecting filled-out forms.
He hopes some people will make his job easier by taking up the option, offered for the first time, of filling in the forms online.
The online forms took about 10 minutes to complete and people could fill out the forms as soon as they had their access code, Mr Henstock said. Once forms were submitted online, a text would be sent telling him they did not need to be collected, saving what could be a two-hour round trip.
Despite the long hours, Mr Henstock was glad to be involved in a job which was hugely important for the country and the region, impacting decisions such as where schools went and how hospitals were funded.
- The Marlborough Express