News Release

Thousands of Volunteers to Beautify New Zealand

Thousands of volunteers will descend on schools, parks, beaches and other locations across the nation tomorrow [Saturday 25 February] to pick up rubbish, paint classroom blocks, pull weeds and otherwise spruce up the nation. Volunteer service worth tens of thousands of dollars will be provided in dozens of community enhancement projects all over the country. But local communities won't pay a cent. The voluntary work is all part of the popular annual Mormon Helping Hands Day.

This year is the 5th annual cleanup campaign. Volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will join with friends and neighbours in New Zealand communities to donate an estimated 15,000 hours of their time. Their bright yellow vests will dot parks, reserves, schools and churches as they serve, often in conjunction with local M.P.s, mayors and other community leaders.

The Hon. Peter Dunne, Minister of Inland Revenue and MP for Ohariu and Wgtn City Councillor, Justin Lester, will kick start a number of projects in Newlands. Volunteers will restore a historic building at Nga Hau e Wha O Paparangi Papakainga, expand Jay St Community Gardens and plant native trees and shrubs in Seton Nossiter Park. Members of the Woodridge Plant Association and the Johnsonville Community Garden Project will also participate (8:30 am – 1pm).

Past Wellington projects have seen 280 Mormon Helping Hands volunteers give Ridgway School a makeover then return to plant the adjoining Vogelmorn Park. They've also worked with the Wellington Activity Centre, Women's Refuge, Wellington Night Shelter, The Wellington Soup Kitchen (Suzanne Aubert Centre of Compassion), Neonatal Intensive Care unit, with Wellington City Council at Central Park and Tawatawa Reserve and with Breast Cancer patients.
Over sixty Mormon Helping Hands volunteers teamed with The Greater Wellington Regional Council on Saturday 18 February to restore Whitireia Regional Park by planting Kanuka, tagging trees, netting dune plants, collecting seeds and weeding.

Louise Odlins from the Greater Wellington Regional Council says, "I really enjoyed working with Mormon Helping Hands. They are a great group of enthusiastic people and we got some important work done. It's great to work with large community groups that have a huge positive impact on our restoration of Whitireia Park."

Other Porirua projects have included 100 people working at Bothamley Park last year, Mana College, beach cleanups, work with Porirua Relay for Life, local food banks and a women's refuge.

Lower Hutt

Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy, and 2011 National candidate for Rimutaka electorate, Jonathon Fletcher, are participating in a makeover at Birchville School in Upper Hutt. From 9am, Helping Hands volunteers will build a sandpit, transplant flax, paint, waterblast, cement a path and clean school furniture.

Volunteers in Hutt Valley have already eradicated graffiti across the city, painted the Upper Hutt Railway Station, cleaned up the Hutt River banks, and planted trees in Kaitoke.

Palmerston North
Mormon Helping Hands volunteers from the Palmerston North district, including some far afield as Waiouru, Wanganui and Dannevirke will be cleaning up Himatangi Beach.

Past projects in Palmerston have included carwashes to raise funds for Canterbury, work with Foxton Primary School, Te Kura O Awahou, with Methodist Services restoring furniture and sorting 15 tonnes of clothing as well as work with local food banks.

It is estimated that 2,000 volunteers will give over 6,000 hours of community service in Auckland alone. The Right.Hon. Jonathan Coleman, MP will attend the project at Windy Ridge School with volunteers working on the senior block after working on the school's junior block last year. Sam Lotu-liga, MP will be at Bailey Rd School and other projects include work at Edmund Hillary School in Papakura, cleaning Meola Creek and Meola Park Reserve, street cleanups in Henderson, work at Hurupaki Primary School in Whangarei and a food drive for the Salvation Army.

Auckland helping hands have previously assisted Bailey Road School, Onehunga Primary School, Green Bay School, Windy Ridge Primary School Mangere Central Primary School, Waikumete Cemetery, the Salvation Army food bank and the Trail Rail Cycleway.

Other Places
Dozens of other projects will take place tomorrow across the nation. "If you see people wearing yellow 'Mormon Helping Hands' shirts tomorrow, and you have a few minutes, join in," says Church spokesman Richard Hunter. "The more the merrier; and we'll get more done for our wonderful communities."
Mormon Helping Hands groups have been involved in additional projects in main cities in New Zealand as well as in many provincial areas. Throughout the year they also give service in their communities on a smaller scale, working with local agencies and councils to improve their environments and reach out to those who need help.

The Mormon Helping Hands program is a worldwide service initiative of the Church and is just one part of the Church's overall welfare and humanitarian program. "Church members around the world donate nearly a million days of service per year to manage the Church's water, hygiene and vaccination initiatives and have given over a billion dollars in monetary and in-kind donations over the last 20 years," according to the Church's National Director of Public Affairs, Anthony Wilson.

The worldwide humanitarian aid program of the Church provides disaster relief and other humanitarian services for families in need throughout the world, irrespective of their nationality, race or religion.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a member of the Church's Pacific Area Presidency, says the service projects "will be a great blessing to many communities and a blessing to those who serve as well."


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