It was great over Easter to get out there and explore an area of the backcountry that was new for most of us – the Ngamoko Range in the southern half of the Ruahines. As happens so often, on one crucial day the weather did not let us keep to our plan, but nevertheless some great tramping was enjoyed by all.

This month’s magazine has a mix of good news and bad news, although none of it should be much of a surprise if you have been following the operation of the club over all recent and not so recent years.

The jewel in the crown continues to be our trips programme with a great variety of frequent trips of all levels and durations to suit active trampers.

But we are also endowed with a superb Lodge at Mt Ruapehu that is now mostly irrelevant to the usage needs of our members. The strategic review of 1997 identified a key challenge was to increase patronage, but in the two decades since then, despite the efforts of numerous committee and sub committee members, the reverse has happened. We are now at a crunch point of quickly needing to find a new owner for the ATC SnowSports Lodge. Further on that decision in the May Wanderlust.

Our results for the year ended 31st March 2017 are currently going through their Financial Review. They paint a picture of a club in good financial health, but at the same time the statistics continue the pattern of many previous years of highlighting the challenge of being an ageing club, now with more members over 65 than under. As a continuing trend, this will force some significant changes in our operation over the next 5 to 10 years.

To achieve this we need new ideas and people familiar with the club’s operation – there is no time more urgent than now for us to broaden the depth of thinking in the ATC Committee. This is not a time for you to hold back from seeking nomination for the committee - a request for nominations is here, and all existing committee members would really appreciate your ideas, your interest, and your involvement.

Within the committee, as a result of Jim’s retirement, we especially need a new Huts Officer to ensure that in the immediate future the management of the Lodge and NTK Hut is represented on the committee, even though the expectation is that the Lodge will now be a relatively short term one.

At a national level there is a lot happening, as you will see by following the FMC News. We have a lot to thank the FMC for, and would be so much worse off for backcountry access and facilities without them, so do take an interest in what they are working so hard on for the benefit of all of us.

Happy tramping !

Tony Walton