Reporter Tyson Young talks to Waitaki District Council parking warden Tania (surname withheld by request) about the highs and lows of the job.
Q Where do you hail from, Tania?
I was born in Dunedin, but I have spent the majority of my life in Oamaru.
Q Was there anything in particular that made you want to become a parking warden?
Being able to work outside and the variety of work that comes with being a parking warden.
Q How long have you worked in your job?
This is my ninth year in parking.
Q What’s the toughest part about your job?
I think the abuse is the toughest part of the job. I have been spat at and even had a book thrown at me by a passing vehicle. Luckily it missed.
Q How do you deal with the “hate mail” you get from people while on the job?
I can’t say that I have had any “hate mail”. I try to work with people and educate them about parking. I have lots of friendly flyers that I leave on vehicles to help educate people around the rules.
Q What do you enjoy the most about the job?
The people. There are lots of lovely people out there and I love being able to help them. I try to be an ambassador for the district. I help with directions, where to purchase items, where to eat, and what to see and do while in the district as well as road safety.
Q Is there anything that has kept you working as a parking warden?
It’s definitely the people and being able to help them. It can be quite an entertaining job sometimes. Every day is different and you just never know what will happen.
Q When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to spend time with family and friends. I also like cooking, although I’m not “‘Master Chef” quality.
Q If you could have a glass of wine with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Princess Diana. She was such an amazing person and an incredible mother in what must have been challenging circumstances.
Q If you were the prime minister for a day, what would be the first thing you’d do and why?
Introduce compulsory military training for all 18-year-olds. I think that it would be beneficial in teaching independence, respect and self-esteem.