Meet our MEET
Palmerston North’s outdoor community activities would be at a loss without MEET.
The Manawatu Events Equipment Trust was set up as a volunteer-run organisation in 2003 to provide traffic management at a nominal cost for sporting or public organisations that hold events on public roads.
Activities such as the popular Manawatu Striders Super Sevens series would be stopped in their tracks without input from MEET.
Phil Pirie has been with the organisation since the beginning.
‘‘It started with a lean-to about half the size of a parking space. We’ve grown considerably since then,’’ Pirie said.
The trust now occupies a large shed on Pirie’s property at Hiwinui that contains $120,000 worth of signs and equipment, with just enough room inside for the trailer.
The trusty purpose-built trailer transports signs, barriers, cones and high-vis gear, and with it comes the legal compliance expertise, support and advice for anything requiring New Zealand Transport Agency, city and district council-controlled streets and roadways.
‘‘There’s no money in it, and we struggle to makes ends meet year on year. Our big costs are insurance, trailer maintenance and buying new gear. We rely a lot on the goodwill of supporting businesses,’’ Pirie said.
To ensure that hire fees are kept as low as possible, the trust is continually seeking donations for services or equipment, and is about to start fundraising for a new trailer.
‘‘Our minimum charge is $10 and maximum is $100. There is increasing demand for the service as people become aware of what the roading requirements are.’’
At the Super Sevens on Tuesday evenings Pirie turns up, loaded trailer in tow to the Ongley Park car park.
It will take two hours to place its fully compliant contents around the Super Sevens course, and after the last stragglers have finished, two hours to pack it all back up.
‘‘These sandbags, signs and barriers are only a small proportion of what we’ve got,’’ Pirie said.
The Striders’ Joseph Smith is there to help, thankful for Pirie’s dedication.
‘‘He [Pirie] certainly does a lot for the club, and what you see on the trailer to set up our event is nothing,’’ Smith said.
Phil Pirie and the trailer load of gear required to support the Super Sevens.