Mucking In

7:00pm Sunday, November 8 on TV One

Jim Mora and the team head to the heart of the Waikato to surprise Sophia Verstappen – a humble human dynamo who is constantly going out of her way to help others in the community of Ngaruawahia, on Mucking In tonight at 7pm.

Verstappen can be found on the frontline and behind-the-scenes of many local sports including rugby league, kapa haka, waka ama, soccer, softball, supporting her marae and many tribal events. Her house is like a clubroom – kids will stay there to attend practice and games, they’ll be fed, and as the washing mounts up at home, Verstappen is picking up kids from all over the place. She is a huge supporter of youth and believes if you look after the kids, the future will be a brighter place.

For as long as her friends can remember, Verstappen, has always been getting stuck in, and she is the type of person to drop everything to come and look after you. Mucking In sees Verstappen’s friends and family on a mission to transform her backyard as a way of saying ‘thanks’ for everything she has done for the community of Ngaruawahia.

7:00pm Sunday, October 11 on TV One

Local series Mucking In returns with a new season to TV ONE tonight at 7pm. The 2009 series sees 11 outstanding Kiwis, who go well above-and-beyond the norm in their community endeavours. These people are inspiring in the way they support, guide and drive others to achieve in their every day lives; and so the Mucking In team reward them with an amazing garden makeover and vacation weekend.

Now in its tenth series, Mucking In has undergone its own makeover with new graphics; handy DIY tips; garden themes; and new theme music from New Zealand musician Donald Reid. However, viewers can guarantee that one thing remains the same, Mucking In continues to celebrate and recognise those people who go quietly and tirelessly about their work, not looking for praise, but doing it because their heart is in it, 100 per cent.

Each episode, presenters Jim Mora and Tony Murrell take viewers on a journey to a different city or town in New Zealand to surprise a new recipient. Mora and Murrell walk and talk with the recipients about their garden dreams – and often their existing garden nightmares. Then it’s all hands on deck – the garden plans are drawn up; the suppliers are called; the volunteers are assembled; the recipients are sent on vacation; and it’s time to ‘muck in’.

Mora says he’s still amazed by the number of generous and deserving people they meet on Mucking In: “Once again, we discovered so many New Zealanders who were just as outstanding as in the past, which is saying something.”

He says it’s the people that make the show, and make the Mucking In team proud of it.

The new season starts with Mora and Murrell taking a trip to the South Island to surprise Trish Pain, a hard-working woman who helps break down the barriers towards people with mental health issues. Murrell and the throng of tireless Kaitangata locals are put through their paces as they create the ultimate garden for this big-hearted woman.

A long time advocate of helping people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities, Trish Pain is a popular lady known widely for her compassion and ability to genuinely empathise and advocate for minority groups. Awarded the Clutha Royal Women of the Year in 2008, she is involved in the local country music scene, coaches guitar and singing, and can also be found coaching netball, giving haircuts, and lending her time to helping raise money for the local rescue helicopter.

Mucking In turns 10 this year and is releasing a 160 page book called “” ($39.99 RRP).

The book features garden designs, tips, stories from the show and more.  Did you know the show receives about 1000 nominations a month to sift through?

Here’s the press release:


TV ONE’s premier garden makeover show, Mucking In, turns 10 this year. To celebrate, the show’s host Jim Mora and show garden designer Tony Murrell share a selection of highlights, garden designs and tips from the past three series, including some of the behind-the-scenes magic that has transformed gardens for the people who transform others’ lives in a vibrant and colourful new book, Mucking In: The gardens and the gardeners.

Jim and the team have been working with communities throughout New Zealand to surprise, amaze and delight viewers and garden recipients alike, as friends, colleagues and neighbours come together to show how much these unsung heroes are cherished and appreciated.

‘When Mucking In started,’ says Jim, ‘I was curious about how many really great, selfless people we would find. We’re still finding them. They live in every city and town, nook and cranny of New Zealand.’

The book is overflowing the stories of Mucking In’s garden makeover recipients — Jim’s ‘unsung community heroes’ — from the past three series. It is packed with photos of neglected plots being transformed (over just one weekend!) under Tony’s planning and guidance into stunning, easy-care garden havens.

Tony’s design and planting tips make the book much more than an interesting retrospective of the television show. Mucking In is a book of wonderful memories and people, but also a useful guide for gardeners inspired by some of the magnificent gardens created with the warm hearts and gratitude of communities for cherished ‘unsung heroes’.

Jim Mora is a popular radio and television announcer. He has also written cartoons and children’s books. He has been with Mucking In since its inception. His own garden is nothing to write home about, but he is gradually mastering the art of compost. He finds it easy to grow radishes, but everything else is a struggle that builds character.

Tony Murrell has his own garden design business and is the author of Garden Designs to Enhance Your Life. This is Tony’s third season as part of the Mucking In team. He calls it ‘the most rewarding job ever’. Tony’s own garden is a mixture of vegetables, natives and exotics, grown where possible in new and interesting ways. Tony also lives in Auckland, where he sometimes pops over to Jim’s to offer much-needed gardening suggestions.

Last week the Broadcasting Standards Authority upheld a complaint against TVNZ over a promo for Fanny Hill which screened during One News and Mucking In.

The complaint that scenes that were not suitable to be screened during children’s interest shows led to the BSA serving TVNZ with a fine of $2000.

Full BSA decision here.

Jim Mora and Tony Murrell present a Mucking In Christmas Special, joined by the community of Palmerston North, to give a new Christmas garden to New Zealand’s very own Kiwi Santa.

For the past nine years, Reg Shaw has operated a free ‘Santa’s Workshop’ from the dilapidated garage at his home. During the year Reg’s home slowly fills with toys which he repairs, wraps and gives away to the local children along with more toys and lollies bought with his own money. Reg himself dresses up as Santa, and his daughter and her fiancé dress up as elves, and in the days leading up to Christmas, they open up the garage and give presents to children from miles around.

The new garden is full of all things Christmas – lights, presents, music. Experience the true spirit of Christmas in this episode of Mucking In.

Sunday 21 December, 7pm

Sunday 15 June, 7.00pm

The people of Wellington muck in to give Jacinta Krefft her dream garden.

Many people wouldn’t want a bar of ‘problem children’ with poor social skills, low academic results, or a history of petty theft; and they wouldn’t know how to deal with children with depression, ADHD and/or abusive backgrounds.
This week’s Mucking In recipient Jacinta Krefft, however, relishes every opportunity that she has to help such children in her role as co-ordinator for Challenge for Change, a programme which takes nine to 13-year-old children and pairs them with adult mentors.

In this role, Krefft works well above and beyond the standard 40-hour week to be there for these kids and their families at any time of the day or night. Krefft’s colleague and nominator, Rod Baxter, explains how she has changed the lives of her mentors and the children she cares for. “Mentors join the programme because they hear through word of mouth about Jacinta and her ability to extend and challenge people.”

People love her. In fact, Mucking In has over 30 names of people, including the Mayor of Wellington, who are willing to back up Baxter’s nomination!

It’s not only her work for local youth that sets Krefft apart. She has also worked on a volunteer programme for refugees in Wellington and has worked with youth in Russia, America and Samoa prior to coming back to New Zealand. She is very culturally aware and incorporates her knowledge of different cultures and languages into her work with people from other ethnicities.

Krefft also voluntarily wrote a book last year, which a few hundred young people and their mentors have already used as part of the Challenge for Change programme.

Daughter Ailsa Krefft is delighted that her mother is being rewarded for her years of selfless work. “She was a social worker in her youth, a volunteer with Volunteer Service Abroad in Samoa, a teacher and now a counsellor, friend and mentor herself. She has always been so humble about what she gives to all those around her and inspires them all, definitely including myself, to do the same.”

Some people are just not worth the air they breathe.

A Nelson woman, Trish Moir, was rewarded for her community spirit with a garden makeover by TVNZ’s Mucking In after being nominated by local police for her volunteer work at the police station. However, the new plants and ornaments have been stolen just one day later.

Community constable John O’Donovan, who nominated Ms Moir, said they were incensed by the actions of the “ultra low-life” responsible and that they would be caught as the items stolen were easily recognisable.

Sunday 18 May, 7.00pm

Kiwi favourite Mucking In is back with new episodes rewarding people who do amazing things for their communities.

Host Jim Mora and garden designer Tony Murrell travel all over the country with the Mucking In team to surprise this year’s unsuspecting recipients with a garden makeover.
The series starts in Hokitika, where Jim Mora and the team surprise Mike Keenan, the man behind the iconic Hokitika Wild Food Festival. While Keenan’s day job is the organiser of the festival, he does a lot more work than he’s paid for – he has given up his garage so a local group can use it as a gym. He works with the Hokitika Activities Centre, securing a new work centre location for adults with disabilities. He’s also an integral part of the Woodstock Heritage Trail, sourcing and planting native trees – something he never has time to do at his own place.

Keenan has been described by his nominator, Helen Gillespie, as Hokitika’s very own ‘Energizer Bunny’, so Tony Murrell faces a big challenge designing a garden that reflects Mike’s huge, vibrant personality.

Although Mucking In is in its ninth series, producer Julia Leonard says there is still no shortage of candidates for the show. “There’s never a danger of running out of recipients for Mucking In – we get so many fantastic nominations, it’s always very hard to narrow it down.”

Leonard says that once again the recipients come from all over New Zealand. “We make a point of choosing recipients from all over the country. Every Mucking In recipient is surrounded by a wonderful sense of community, but we do find that the smaller the town, the bigger the heart!”

Year after year, Mucking In is an audience favourite. Combining a garden makeover, travel, community spirit and championing good samaritans the feel-good and practical show has broad appeal.

Host Jim Mora says “Once again, we discovered so many New Zealanders who were just as outstanding as in the past, which is saying something!”

Gardener Tony Murrell added “The gardens look great, but most importantly, we made a whole new series of friendships in wonderful Kiwi communities. The people make this show, and they make us proud of it.”

Mucking In Sunday 6 May, 7pm

Kiwi favourite ‘Mucking In’ is back, rewarding people who do amazing things for their communities with a garden makeover (tonight at 7pm on TV ONE). Host Jim Mora and garden designer Tony Murrell travel throughout the country with the ‘Mucking In’ team to surprise this year’s 10 unsuspecting recipients.

Each ‘Mucking In’ recipient is chosen for their outstanding voluntary contributions to their local communities. The community gets together and works alongside the ‘Mucking In’ team to create a new garden.
Good samaritans can be surprised anywhere – at work, while they’re out having a coffee, at a scout jamboree, or in a courtroom! Mora and the ‘Mucking In’ crew turn up in some unexpected places and with some interesting results. Viewers also get to know the recipients a little better, visiting them at their luxury getaways to see what they’ve been up to, while the team is at work on their garden.

Mora says he is still amazed by the number of generous people they meet on ‘Mucking In’: “Once again, we discovered so many New Zealanders who were just as outstanding as in the past, which is saying something!”

This series every garden is completely different – Tony Murrell has designed 10 unique gardens to reflect the owners’ personalities and specific needs, with stunning results.

“The gardens look great, but most importantly, we made a whole new series of friendships in wonderful Kiwi communities. The people make this show, and they make us proud of it.”

As always, there’s something for everyone, from creative ideas and gardening tips to plenty of laughter and, of course, the tears.

Episode one sees Mora and the ‘Mucking In’ team create a garden from scratch for Mareta Timo of Blockhouse Bay, Auckland. Known to her community as their “Pasifika Florence Nightingale”, Mareta Timo is always quick with a smile and her own time and money for anyone who needs it. Her commitment to others is rare and outstanding and everything she does is from the heart.

A nurse by day, she works around the clock giving every moment of her time to helping others, including her husband who recently suffered a stroke that has left him unable to work or drive. The garden at their home is non-existent – mounds of earth covered in weeds, long grass, a half-finished deck, and not a plant in sight.

An incredible effort by the ‘Mucking In’ team and Mareta Timo’s supporters totally transforms the entire property into something nobody could believe possible in only two days.