Community's helping hands tackle graffiti

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Graffiti met its match in the Hamilton suburb of Enderley on Saturday.

An army of more than 1500 volunteers, mostly from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, took to Hamilton streets to paint overgraffiti on fences, shops, houses and transformer boxes. They also did service projects at schools.

The day, which kicked off at 8.30am at the Enderley Community Centre on Tennyson St, was a joint effort between the Hamilton City Council, police, the community and the Mormon church.

As well as graffiti, rubbish was cleaned up and repairs carried out on the centre.

Volunteers started with an attack on the Mardon Rd shops, something Community Constable Craig Berquist called the "mothership" of the whole project, which had always been put in the "too hard basket."

Within minutes graffiti disappeared under a fresh coats of paint as mothers with babies in pushchairs, children, elderly and those in wheelchairs took up brushes and rollers.


Members of the church volunteered their time to the working bee as part of the annual national Mormon Helping Hands day.

Sisters and members of the church Gail Taitoko and Ruth Lowry were there, along with their children and grandchildren. They said the message of the church was all about service and helping others.

"It's nice to help others. It's a feel good thing, helping the community. That's a basis of the church family, we do everything together," Mrs Taitoko said.

Neither was daunted by the volume of graffiti.

"Bring in a few hundred people, that'll wipe it out," Mrs Lowry said.

Housing New Zealand tenancy manager for the Enderley area Katy-Jo Martin said 90 per cent of the houses in the area were state houses and the efforts of volunteers were amazing.

"Everyone in the community is absolutely buzzed about it."

Enderley Community Centre manager Jim Wetere said the day was part of a wider holistic approach to revitalising the community.


Waikato Times