November 2007 Newsletter

  • Buffer Zones
  • Bernard Stanley talks to Robyn Roper

We have just finished another two weeks in the Environment Court. During this time our lawyer presented the Great Park Society’s submissionto the Judge and our witnesses went on
the stand.

Thank you to all of you who came to Court. You made quite an impact! On the day the Society was heard the room was packed with Great Park supporters with some people
having to stand.

All the parties have now been heard and Judge Jackson has scheduled another site visit to Long Bay in mid November. It is likely that we will need to go back to Court then for a couple of days to answer any questions the Judge may have.

The Judge has advised that he will most likely make an interim decision on the case. This means that he will make a decision based on the principles and concepts of the case, and will not look at detail until further down the track. It is expected that the interim decision will come out in the middle of 2008.

Buffer Zones behind Long Bay

Buffer Zones behind Long Bay

The Society is requesting a non-developed buffer between the Regional Park and housing. As you can see on the plan this buffer is described as the three areas A, B, and C. You will all be pleased to hear that on the last day of Court the North Shore City Council produced new evidence changing their stance to fully supporting two of the Society’s proposed buffers, areas B and C on the Grannies Bay skyline and behind the Nature Walkway.

All of the archaeologists agree that a heritage protection zone on Awaruku Ridge running back to the Ditch and Bank should be protected. The Society is proposing buffer area A to protect the heritage landscape, the visual backdrop to the Regional Park, and the landform of the ridge. The North Shore City Council’s proposed buffer, shown as HPZ on the plan, just covers the archaeological sites. Although it is smaller than our buffer, it i s considerably larger than their original proposal.

These are all positive developments and I am hopeful that we will achieve a good outcome when the Judge’s decision is returned.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Fiona McLaughlin

A delightful Xmas Gift book offer for our members . . .

Author Robyn Roper is making her 144-page full-colour book Twenty-Five Summers available to supporters of the Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society at the special price of just $25 (it normally sells for $35) all of which goes to the Society ’s Environment Court Fund.

Bernard Stanley talks to Robyn Roper

Bernard S: What has motivated your generous gift of 400 copies of your splendid book to the Great Park Society?

Robyn R: Enjoying the outdoors has been a Kiwi tradition for generations. Aucklanders are fortunate to have so many attractive geographical features in the region, and I think that an urban park at Long Bay has the potential to become the city’s jewel in its crown. In donating these books to the Great Park Society I saw an opportunity to support a fantastic cause and at the same time promote a lifestyle that is an important part of our culture.

BS: Do you have any particular interest or attachment to Long Bay?

RR: I have fond memories of Long Bay from about 25 years ago when my four children were small. We were living at Dairy Flat and they loved to go to the beach at Long Bay in the summer. In the school holidays in the winter, we’d often go to the park specifically for them to ride around on their bikes.

BS: What motivated you to write and undertake publication of your chronicle?

RR: In 2004, I realized that our family and friends had been taking camping holidays together for 25 years, and while I felt this fact was pretty special I also knew it was a common occurrence throughout the country. Since I‘ve always been a keen amateur photographer, the idea for a book of our holiday experiences began to take shape. The following year, in 2005, the issue of accessibility by ordinary Kiwis to coastal land, including camping grounds, was starting to get a bit of press. I felt the time was right for a book that celebrated this slice of Kiwi culture that was potentially under threat.

BS: How did your group reach a consensus on the choice of site each year?

RR: Consensus was achieved after much banter and discussion among the group, and sometimes a reconnaissance trip was necessary. Two or three of the guys would take time off work during the winter and drive up north to check out several camping grounds, doing the round trip in a day. The final decision was made by the men.

BS: You obviously had a strong preference for Snells Beach and Pataua with four visits each. What particularly attracted to you to those sites?

RR: The Snell’s Beach campsite was on a family farm. It was not far to travel with small children, and unbeatable for proximity to the beach. There’s something magic about lying in bed at night listening to the waves lapping on the shore just a few metres from your head. When we first went to Pataua, most of the children in the group were teenagers, and we discovered that there were heaps of fun things they could do in and around the camping ground. By this time, of course, they were making sure their wants and needs were heard in the discussions of where we’d stay!

BS: What is your favourite camping site and why?

RR: That’s a tough question! Our coastline has so many stunning spots. I don’t think I could pick one place as a favourite, but I can say that the Bay of Islands is a favourite area – because of its sheer beauty, its warmth and sunshine, the sparkling clear water, good fishing, and the variety of things to do.

BS: You mention in the book that many camping grounds are being closed down and sold. How do you see the future for family gr oup camping holidays?

RR: In 2006 both of our major political parties pledged to safeguard the classic Kiwi camping holiday. Although there have been many camping ground closures in the past few years, the opportunity is still there. I would encourage all Kiwis to get out there and enjoy what we have.

Fundraising Movie

Elizabeth – the Golden Age Sunday 2nd December at 6pm. Bridgeway Cinema, Queen Street, Northcote.

The story finds Queen Eliza beth I (Blanchett) facing blood lust for her throne and familial betrayal. Aware of the changing religious and political tides of late 16th century Europe, Elizabeth finds her rule openly challenged by the Spanish King Philip II (Jordi Molla) who is determined to restore England to Catholicism.
$15 per ticket

Print version LBOGPS November 2007 newsletter [323KB PDF]