Tiger Town’s own outstanding citizen
New Plymouth’s Terry Parkes swears he’s no ’goody two shoes’.
One thing’s for certain that when he is on a mission for a worthy cause he jumps in with both feet.
‘‘Not everything I do is wonderful. I’m known for saying the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times,’’ Parkes said.
Faux pas aside, Parkes was recently honoured for his outstanding service to the community with a New Plymouth District Council Citizen Award.
‘‘When you accept it, you have been picked out amongst hundreds of deserving people. It doesn’t mean your much greater than them, it means you know people, who will know people, who will tell other people,’’ Parkes said.
The well known flamboyant figure is at the forefront of promoting the arts in the region. He is involved in Art in Public Places, Taranaki Arts Festival, Tropfest, Womad, GovettBrewster Foundation and prominent fundraising the for the Len Lye Centre.
The hotelier and restauranteur has a reputation for espousing the finer things in life, he says it’s his humble beginnings that instilled the ethos of doing and giving. ’’I’m proud to say I’m from Tiger Town and was brought up in an area that wasn’t bathed in money.’’
He recalls fondly his childhood days where you had a milk run or paper run and the community spirit of giving was strong, especially when it came to fundraising for his schools.
With his eclectic range of passions and interests, it’s hardly surprising his service to the community was not limited to one sector alone. His other efforts included, Lotteries Commission, Garden Spectacular, and the Taranaki Health Foundation - to name a few.
Parkes has long walked his charity talk, with sponsorship, support, mentoring, or hands-on mucking in. His latest missions is to help raise money for the Taranaki Cathedral Project to strengthen, preserve and reinvigorate the 170-year-old stone building.
While he prefers to be under the radar about his efforts, he had no qualms in accepting his latest award if it helps towards the cause.
Volunteers are the life-blood of our district, there are many services that would grind to a halt without them,’’ mayor Neil Holdom said.
Terry Parkes poses for an appropriately arty photograph.