News | 23 September 2022

It pays to be kind: Mat’s story

In the 20 years that Mat Kenny, Team Leader for Parking at Wellington City Council, has been in the parking sector, he has had multiple death threats over the years and been assaulted half a dozen times.

Man standing by a window and smiling
Mat Kenny.

While many would find this a reason to leave a role, Mat still shows up every day because he believes the good days will always outweigh the bad if you care about what you do and have empathy for people.

“I still come back for more and keep smiling through it. I've generally got a pretty thick skin, so I try to not let a lot worry or affect me because I try to understand what other people are going through at the time.” 

Mat stumbled into the world of parking on a whim, when he decided to go along to an open day.

“I saw that you get paid to walk, and I loved working with people from all walks of life, so it seemed like a perfect role,” says Mat.

Now after working across multiple Councils in Australia, he has been the team leader at Wellington City Council for the last six years.

His favourite part of the role? Supporting his team every day and helping others.

“I love helping people, and the team we have here at the Council really cares about people in different ways. For example, we have a lot of staff who can speak different languages, and they really care about being able to communicate to other people in their native tongue when it comes to a parking issue,” says Mat.

“We want to have a conversation with you and help you go about any issues you may have. There are appeal processes, and you can call the Contact Centre if you think there is something wrong in the city. We care about feedback.”

Often in the role, people see parking officers out and about and automatically assume the worst of them, says Mat.

“The thing is, people don't realise we're all just like them at the end of the day. We've got families, we've got kids and we all want to go home safely after work. I’ve seen staff members get assaulted in front of me over a ticket, but the people that get hurt are just trying to do their job and do their best for Wellington city. 

“Nobody wants to get a parking ticket, but also nobody deserves to be assaulted or threatened.”

Mathew Kenny with his mum and nephew.
Mat with his mum and nephew.

This year, due to his work ethic and caring nature, he was elected to the New Zealand Parking Association as a committee member. His role now represents both the Council’s parking team and other regional Councils.

Being a part of the association is a huge honour and gives him the opportunity to pass on his knowledge to others, says Mat.

“At our committee meetings we speak about parking life in general and share our concerns and issues that we see in day-to-day life. I can do my part by sharing tips or tricks, and things I’ve learnt through my 20 years of knowledge.”  

“At the end of the day, I want to inspire others to join our team and know that we are a caring bunch who just want to do their best for the city. There are other ways to deal with things and to go about things. Being kind goes a long way,” he adds.

Team Leader for Parking Operations Mel Goodger believes that parking officers play an important role in making the city safer and accessible.

“Wellington city is a cool little capital and in order to ensure our city is safe and accessible to all members of the public, Parking Officers play a key role in ensuring that vehicles using carparks turn over regularly. By enforcing illegal parking and dangerous or obstructive parking, it keeps our roads safe for all users.” 

If you think you could be a parking officer, you can head to our careers website to see a range of parking roles available.