March 2015 Newsletter

Dear Long Bay-Okura Great Park supporters…

The Society is deeply concerned that some of what so many of us fought for in the past may be lost. As I have told you in previous newsletters, the process of developing the Auckland Unitary Plan has put the protections we achieved for Long Bay and Okura in danger of being overturned.

What are our concerns?

Let me remind you that at least two Environment Court decisions have ruled that land lying immediately to the south-east of the Okura Estuary should remain rural, with lots of not less than 4 hectares (ten acres) in size, in order to protect the estuary’s high quality waters and beautiful landscape. However, some submitters to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) want the rural urban boundary (RUB) to be moved further out to the edge of the estuary, thus enabling residential development to occur in this currently protected area.

Three years ago the Society played a major role in the Environment Court case where the rules for the new Long Bay development were decided. The Society was successful in winning a number of protections for the Marine Reserve and for the outstanding landscape of Long Bay. We raised almost $500,000 to fight this. But some submissions to the PAUP call for a relaxing of some of the protective rules pertinent to the Long Bay Structure Plan.

While the Society is not against development per se, it is concerned that the waters and landscape of Okura and Long Bay may be adversely affected by development as indicated in the Environment Court decisions. In order to ensure this does not happen, the Society has started to participate in a number of proceedings being held by a panel of commissioners set up under the law governing the amalgamation of the supercity.

This is rather akin to attending a number of Environment Court hearings. It involves attending mediation, expert conferencing and the actual hearings on various aspects of the PAUP. The hearings have started and are expected to run until midway through next year. If the Society is to continue to participate we will have to engage legal and expert services throughout much of this period. And this is where it becomes costly.

Further funding required

If we are to continue to fight to protect what is already protected, we are needing further funds. And again, urgently.

Loyal supporters, you have all been amazingly generous, both in the past and recently. You have been wonderfully supportive. When we told you last year that we urgently needed funds to start the hearings process to retain the protections of waters and beautiful landscapes of Long Bay and Okura, you responded immediately. Your donations were generous and heart-felt, enabling the Society to prepare for the PAUP hearings.

Please consider supporting us once again. I know you have all worked so hard in your generosity, like the trio of enterprising superannuitants who held a raffle amongst their friends and acquaintances and raised over $350. Without further generosity we cannot continue.

The executive committee is doing all it can to keep costs to the minimum. We have targeted only essential hearings and we are looking at other strategies to further reduce costs, such as working in with other organisations. We are also doing as much preparation for the hearings as we can ourselves. It is still costly.

The committee is pursuing other avenues of funding so it does not all fall on the membership. We are also planning some other fundraising events. If any of you would like to join with us in doing this, you would be most welcome. We will talk more about this at our AGM.

AGM – nominations invited

Our Society is a proactive one and has achieved considerable success. As you can see, we still have important work to do in protecting the land and sea of Long Bay and Okura. If you are interested in joining our lively committee, or know of others who may be, please contact any one of our committee members for further information and so we can be sure to nominate you at our AGM.

We would also like to hear from supporters with specific skills or who have time for some ex-officio tasks such as:

  • our fundraising activities
  • selling raffle tickets
  • distributing newsletters
  • assisting with a telephone tree when needed
  • assisting with maintaining our hearings schedule database
  • maintain volunteer database, etc

Often we would like assistance for specific activities that may be one-off and take little time. Some activities require more input. We would be delighted to hear if you are available to call on at such times. You can contact me or any others on the committee to see how you can help.

Membership fees now due

At our last AGM, we raised the membership subscription to $20.00. While we used to have a membership season in line with our financial year (January to December), our system now allows membership for 12 months from the time payment is made. If payment is made through our website, your credit card will be automatically debited by PayPal once a year. Membership is one avenue of ensuring we can get updates to you, and for getting your feedback on what direction you want the Society to take. It also helps with our small administrative costs.

Some very good news: more land for the Park

The Heritage Protection Area of the Long Bay Structure Plan (fondly known as the HPA) is now in public ownership. Congratulations, all supporters and friends of the Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society. You made it possible.

Last month some past and present members of the executive committee were invited to a small ceremony hosted by the Auckland Council to celebrate the transfer of the HPA to public ownership. For those who do not know, this is the green headland you see as you enter Long Bay Regional Park, land that lies to the seaward side of the new Long Bay development. It stretches almost the length of the main road in the park, 19.6 hectares (almost 50 acres) in total.

This is a very beautiful piece of land, sacred with its number of archaeological sites dating back to early Maori land use and historical sites which include a rare existing example of ditch and bank farming technique. The land has spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf and will be a valuable addition to the Regional Park.

This is a true reward indeed for the hard work by so many over successive years. Special tribute must go to Fiona McLoughlin who led the Society through the Environment Court process, and to Linda Nunn, who so unrelentingly cajoled everyone into raising the funds to make it possible.

Yes, we can all be proud of what we have done to enable a further sparkle to be added to the jewel that is the Regional Park.

This land is not yet open to the public – some technicalities need to be completed first – but we can be assured, it will not be long before the people of today and those of the generations to come will be able to stand on it and enjoy its magnificence.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it to our AGM
Kind regards
Chris Bettany

Annual general meeting

3.30 – 5.30 pm
Sunday 29 March 2015
John Priestley Room
Vaughan Park Retreat
1043 Beach Road
Long Bay

This is a public meeting. All are welcome.

The Unitary Plan process poses threats.

Come to hear how we might work together to protect the wonderful coastline of Long Bay and Okura

Membership Fees ($20.00) are now due

The Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society is a registered charity. Donations $5.00 and above are tax deductible and eligible for a 33⅓% rebate.

If you wish to pay a subscription or make a donation to the Long Bay – Okura Great Park Society to help our cause, payment can be made by any of the methods below:

Internet banking

Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society, bank account number 12 3053 0467134 00. Please supply your name and ‘subscription’ and/or ‘donation’ in reference boxes. Our annual subscription fee is $20.00.


Payable to Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society, post to PO Box 35 348, Browns Bay, Auckland.

Credit card

To donate, click the Donate button at the top right-hand side of any Long Bay Park website page.

To join, or to renew your membership, go to this page: where you can set up a recurring PayPal payment. You will receive a receipt immediately.

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Download print version: LBOGP March 2015 newsletter [285 KB PDF]