The business of car boots

Shirley and Keith Carter. Photo: John Borren.

Keith and Shirley Carter are looking forward to the Tauranga South Community Patrol having an uninterrupted year of successful monthly car boot sales at Tauranga Racecourse.

This Saturday, January 15, will be the third time they’ve been able to hold one at the new location, after Covid restrictions made it impossible to proceed during previous months.

The monthly sale is the main form of fundraising for the local patrol.

Getting up before dawn doesn’t faze the couple, who have both been contributing to the Greerton community for decades. Keith has been helping keep the Greerton community safe as a volunteer patroller since 2005, and as a founding member of the Greerton Night Owls - now Tauranga South Community Patrol – he has liaised between police and the local community.

He has also coordinated with police to establish local crime hot spots and arrange patrollers for those areas.

It’s no surprise to Tauranga South Community Patrol chair Maureen Kathan that Keith was recently awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to the community. She first met the couple in 2007.

“My husband and I had just returned from living overseas for 30 years and wanted to involve ourselves in some local community work,” says Maureen. “We had seen an article in the local newspaper about something called ‘Night Owls’. 

“It sounded interesting so we called in on the local organiser of this newly formed organisation at his shop on Chadwick Road and met Keith.”

Maureen says it was the beginning of a long relationship working with Keith in the now renamed Tauranga South Community Patrol. 

“From the very beginning it was obvious that this man was dedicated to improving the lives of those around him and working to make the community a safer place to live in.

“At that time he and Shirley owned the Tauranga Rug Company and were working full time. That didn't stop Keith from volunteering hours and hours of his free time into establishing a strong patrol and making it the successful patrol it is today.”

With Shirley, Keith attended a Community Patrols National Training Seminar in 2007, securing the first marked patrol car.

Since 2012, Keith has helped distribute tamper-resistant screws throughout community patrols in New Zealand - an initiative with police that inserts a special screw in registration plates to prevent them being stolen.

The couple took over the local car boot sale, which has run every third Saturday in Greerton since 2009, and is now located at Tauranga Racecourse. They purchased and supplied all equipment needed for the car boot sale including all that is required for a sausage sizzle.

“Over the past 14 years I have worked closely with Keith on the [Tauranga South Community Patrol] committee and have seen first-hand the sensible, pragmatic approach he takes when working through challenges,” says Maureen.

“His ability to inspire those around him, both in his words of wisdom and his ethic of hard work, is what has made him an outstanding person in the community.”

Tauranga South Community Patrol car boot sale and sausage sizzle is held every third Saturday of the month at Tauranga racecourse from 6.30am-12noon. A single site is $5 and a double site $10.




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