March 2008 Newsletter

  • Passionate people needed for executive
  • What our experts had to say in court

It looks like this will be yet another exciting and busy year for the Society. The Judge has not yet released his decision on Long Bay but when he does we have been informed that the Court will be releasing an interim decision. This means the Judge will determine a concept for the area and then the parties will need to work together to make the plan work.

The Executive has been shaping our post-Court strategy for Long Bay which will include the possibility of land purchase.

Sadly the end of the year brings the news that Linda Nunn and Kurt Marquart will be resigning from their positions as fund raising coordinator and executive member.

They have both worked tirelessly for the Society and on behalf of the Executive I would like to thank them for both their important contributions. Linda has been the force behind the immense fund raising effort neededto cover our court costs. Kurt has looked after website and newsletter as well as helping with the court case. Both have been pulled away from th e Society by other demands but, I am happy to say, they are both willing to continue to help the Society, but in a more low-key manner!

So, with the AGM coming up we are looking for passionate people to join our Executive Committee and I implore members to look around them and in the mirror for possible nominees.

We need as much help as possible so if you feel that you can help us in any way or know of someone who would be ideal please come to our AGM on 27 March.

Looking forward to a fantastic year!

Fiona McLaughlin

What our Experts had to Say

While we wait in anticipation for a decision from the Environment Court on the fate of Long Bay we thought it would be of interest to members to have the opportunity to read some of the Society’s evidence presented to the Court.

Rev. Faleatua – Samoan Methodist minister for two south Auckland parishes that regularly enjoy visits to Long Bay. The salient points of his evidence were the enjoyment of open space and freedom from being overlooked by adjacent residents.

We particularly enjoy the open space available for groups like ours, because it allows both the aged and the young to hold activities that we all enjoy, without causing concerns for the people who would be residing close to the beach if development was to go ahead. On the other hand, we, and many other beach goers , wil l soon be robbed of the privacy we are now enjoying, because we will be watched and looked upon by those in housing on the beach fringe areas. Furthermore, we will no doubt sooner rather than later be faced with noise and access restrictions, just to name a couple right now.

We fear that any disregard of the people’s voice may not only alienate the people of Long Bay itself, but it will also force many individuals and groups like ours who have been enjoying the use of such a resource, to abandon it all together. We don’t want to see such developments to proceed unhindered, widening the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged, or the have and the have-nots , particularly in this part of Auckland.

Dianne Gatward – well known Great Park Executive member , teacher for 26 years at Long Bay College and widow of our former Convenor , David Gatward. Dianne’s evidence highlighted the spiritual quality of the Long Bay experience and the importance of retaining the green backdrop to the Regional Park .

For 30 years I have been blessed to live near Long Bay Regional Park. I use the term blessed deliberately. Knowing that the park exists , with its magnificent visual backdrop of green hills ,
with its expansive views of the Hauraki Gulf, with its cliffs and walks, with its precious bays, secluded and peaceful, just knowing that all these natural features are available to us all, so
close to a thriving metropolis, makes one feel blessed.

I sincerely request the Court to do everything in its power to protect and preserve this treasured area for the future. Once the Park’s truly unique setting is destroyed it is lost forever.

Teresa Grant – Okura resident and Director of MERC. Teresa focused on the importance of the Regional Park and Marine Reserve to MERC and its clients who are mainly children.

At the moment MERC is successfully managed to provide young New Zealanders with an opportunity to experience a unique “urban outdoor pursuit” camp in the park surroundings .

This gives the feeling of being out in the natural environment. The children’s experience of the Park would be diminished considerably if it was overshadowed by housing.

Many children who come to MERC have never been swimming in the sea before. Visiting Long Bay Marine reserve and park where the land and water are natural, clean and safe provides the opportunity of a lifetime to many of them. Many children have expressed concern about the fate of Long Bay. A local primary school submitted pictures of the park to us; they featured green rolling hills and the sea full of marine life . This is how our children would like Long Bay to stay.

Peter Matthews – NZ born researcher in ethno botany and prehist or y at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan. In his evidence Peter, a long time member of the Society, highlighted the social, cultural , environmental and amenity values of the area for families spanning many generations. He drew extensively on his childhood experiences at his family bach built by his grandparents at Long Bay in the 1920s.

I believe that the current Structure Plan will seriously compromise economic and social development options for North Shore City.

I strongly urge the Court to consider the above statement as a combination of personal and professional views. Although my personal attachments to the area may be stronger than those of many people, my experiences of living, working and travelling in other parts of the world convince me that the Long Bay Park area deserves the highest possible level of protection, restoration, and appreciation. It is truly unique in its setting, and its amenity and ecological values, and can only become increasingly rare unless a sufficient buffer area is preserved to protect it.

Bernard Stanley – Deputy Convenor of the Society and local resident . Bernard’s submission highlighted the importance of the Awaruku ridge as an iconic landform and focal point of the archaeological and historical heritage of the area and that it was of great physical and spiritual value.

Colonial occupation commenced in the early 19th century with kauri logging and gum digging followed by land clearance for farming. The nationally significant ditch and bank fence from that era defining the Pannill farm is still visible over much of the ridge and the adjacent Vaughan flats. The green fields of the flats and Awaruku slopes provide the living context for the his toric Vaughan homestead. The World War II gun emplacements and trenches constitute a third human component of this historic overlay. The spirits of the past are palpable as one wanders through the area.

But it is this iconic treasure of landform and history that is under greatest threat from the proposed urban development. With 12 metres – a quarter of its height – scalped off to fill and stabilise a geotechnically dynamic landscape, to create level building platforms for intensive housing, commercial premises and infrastructure, the magnificent natural landform of the Awaruku Ridge will be reduced to an amorphous hump – just another anonymous urban location in North Shore City bearing down on the rural tranquillity of the Regional Park .

Fundraising Movie

The third film version of Somerset Maughm’s 1925 novel–directed by John Curran.

A love story set in the 1920s about a young English couple–a conservative doctor and a restless society girl–who marry hastily, relocate to Hong Kong. There they betray each other easily, and find an unexpected chance at redemption and happiness while on a deadly journey into the heart of ancient China.

Sunday 20th April at 6pm Bridgeway Cinema, Queen Street, Northcote.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Toby Jones, Diana Rigg.

Print version LBOGPS March 2008 newsletter [298KB PDF]