Dawn Chard with Roger and Trish Jenkins at the Marine Park Motor Camp.
Roger and Trish Jenkins were only going to stay a single night in Waitara and they ended up taking over the management of the NPDC-owned Marine Park Motor Camp.
They have taken over from Dawn Chard, who has held the lease at the historic camp ground for almost 27 years.
“We sold our house in Hawera four months ago and with the profit we bought a motor home and we were travelling around the North Island. We happened to be heading back to Taranaki and called in to the Waitara Marine Park for one night and ended up here forever,” jokes Roger.
Dawn Chard says she’s proud of the work she and her late husband put into the site, with NPDC’s help.
“It’s turned out a really nice place. Everything we did made it a little bit better, it gave us the heart to carry on a bit more and NPDC has been absolutely marvellous,” says Dawn.
NPDC’s Chief Financial Officer says Waitara is a great place to do business. “NPDC manages six seaside Holiday Park leases to help to bring visitors to the district, create jobs and keep the tills ringing,” says Mr Bird.
At 72, Dawn said the time had come to hand over the reins and “everything fell into place” when the Jenkins arrived. The pair, who have previously managed hotels in the South Island, saw opportunities in the camp and the town. They knew Dawn wasn’t well and asked if she would consider selling the lease. The deal included Dawn buying the Jenkins’ bus so she could stay on at the camp.
Roger, who worked in Waitara in his younger days, says Waitara has “grown up”. “It’s a real community spirit here, with friendly people and the sea is only a minute away.”
They plan to upgrade the facilities, including the kitchen and laundry, start a website and bring in Eftpos, while keeping the animal-friendly, family atmosphere.
The Waitara Marine Park Motor Camp has been running since at least the 1920s and is one of NPDC’s six seaside holiday park leases. The other five are in Oakura, Belt Road, Fitzroy, Urenui and Onaero.