From pastries to parking meters - the unconventional career of Sijtze Mohlmann

Monday 8 July, 2024

In a world of constant change, it’s nice to know some things stay the same.

80-year-old Sijtze Mohlmann has been counting the parking meter money at Council every Wednesday morning for 20 years. He loves it.

“It gets me up and gives me purpose for the day,” he says.

Sijtze uses the same old-school counting machine, bags up the money, and gets it double-checked before it’s collected by Armourguard. Some of the more interesting findings over the years have been the number of foreign coins that get through.

“I’ve had Euros, Fijian, American and Canadian currency.”

He remembers the exact day he started – 30 June 2004 – and is proudly the eldest employee at Council.

Sijtze, Dutch by birth, has called Tairāwhiti home for 55 years.

He trained in Holland as a pastry chef and moved to New Zealand in 1966 because it was “a good country with a good climate”.

He worked at Osler’s Bakery for a couple of years in Wairoa before moving to Gisborne and buying the Cake Kitchen, which he and his wife owned for 26 years.

After that, Sijtze moved into a retirement plan where he didn’t want to work more than three days a week.

So, he delivered eggs for a few years, worked at Elgin Liquorland, helped with the Lions and loves to play snooker and golf.

He met his wife Enaka, who is also from Holland, during his first year in Gisborne and they raised two daughters here who have now brought them four grandchildren.

Sijtze Mohlmann