Once-hated meters now a popular item

METER MAID: Kendra Wood holds an old parking meter, one of two  she bought for her father.
METER MAID: Kendra Wood holds an old parking meter, one of two she bought for her father.

After decades of tormenting every city driver's life, New Plymouth's retired parking meters are now objects of desire for hundreds of people.

Just over 400 of the coin-hungry meters have been put out to pasture by the district council's switch to an electronically monitored system, which requires just one meter for every eight spaces.

Though no longer wanted by the city, the meters have been a big hit with residents who have happily handed over $60 to have one at home and $10 for a pole to stick it on.

"I got told to come down and get one for my wife," said the faithful Rhys Fulton. "She wants it for a garden ornament."

"I'm getting two for my father," said Kendra Wood. "He has a shed of memorabilia and wants to add it to his collection."

Mike Hollway didn't know what he would do with his meter but it wasn't going to end up in a sculpture of the likes outside Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner architects in Courtenay St.

"It will just be a statue in the garden I suppose," Mr Hollway said.

While most people were happy with one or two, a mysterious lady identified only on her departure as "Mrs Willis" bought 10. She would not tell the Taranaki Daily News what she was buying them for.

"I'm an ex-journalist. I'm not talking to you," she said.

Fortunately her friend who had "come along for the ride" was not so nervous and said she believed the meters would be used to line a driveway.

Bell Block and District Lions fundraising chairman Gary Rooks said it was most common to buy the meters for use as garden ornaments but they were also popular as Christmas presents.

All money raised from the sale of the meters would be put into community projects, he said.

Taranaki Daily News