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Warm welcome to Napier visitors

FG and TW

She is an attendant/caretaker at the Soundshell toilets along with Trish White, keeping the Napier City Council facility spick and span for those in need. And there are a lot.

Cruise ships are set to return next month, the beginning of what is likely to be a record season. When the bigger cruise ships are docked at Napier Port, there can be literally hundreds of people dropping by each day, says Felicity. “I think 2023 is going to be phenomenal.”

Occasionally a passenger loses track of time. Shuttle bus drivers and Napier Port security know this is a good spot to wait for them to show up. Felicity or Trish can sometimes come to the rescue, if they know the person in question is going to come back to retrieve items they’ve left in the lockers, or they happen to have mentioned where they were heading.

Busloads of older people taking road trips, backpackers needing a shower, cyclists wanting to reward themselves with good coffee, even motel guests wanting to leave their luggage and do a bit of shopping before their flight departs – Felicity and Trish see them all.

Having worked at the facility for nearly five years, the word caretaker is a good description of Felicity. It’s about taking care of and this place, not just cleaning.

It’s about passing on a good tip about cafes or walking routes to travellers (the graduated Hornsey Road steps to the Bluff Hill lookout is a top recommendation), encouraging the weary to take a seat, or offering the thirsty a glass of cold water on a hot day.

Caretaking also means thinking about dog walkers, and the needs of their four legged charges. Leaving out water for pooches is easy and Felicity delights in doing it.

Felicity is Napier born and bred, proud of it, and, a staunch Magpies fan, whether they hold the Ranfurly Shield or not. She does what she can to promote Napier, she says, especially to those who say they are thinking of relocating, encouraging them to visit in spring, summer or for the Art Deco Festival.

“There seems to be a lot of people from Auckland interested in moving here. I tell them Napier is one of the safest, most child friendly cities around.”

“Summer is amazing, the whole community is out and about. That’s how it should be.”

She thinks Napier is a friendly place, and wants other people to feel that way about it too.

“I want our visitors to go home with positive vibes.”

30 September 2022

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