We struck it lucky again with our July weekend trip, as with our June trip, with the weather being fine all weekend for us, after a rough, cold week around the country the week before.  The trip was managed very well by Margaret Law and Martin Woodhead with plenty of options for all to enjoy the wonders of the Omahuta and Puketi forests, to the west of Kerikeri.

So yet again a big thankyou is in order to Martin and Margaret, and to our drivers Jim and Marilyn – and to everyone who joined in, including for the fabulous pot luck dinner in the old schoolhouse, now a DOC hut, on the Saturday evening. A club that can provide such an enjoyable trip away in the middle of winter is in good heart !

It was great to hear that the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of conservation in its decision to prevent DOC and the Minister of Conservation from downgrading an area of Ruahines conservation land to allow it to be flooded for the Ruataniwha irrigation project in the Hawkes Bay.

All through this major protection campaign, led by Forest and Bird, it has been of great disappointment that DOC and the Minister of Conservation have been at the forefront of this conservation land grab - on behalf of other interests in and out of government.  It is their role to protect, not take away. And following the announcement of the judgement, it was even more disappointing to hear that the government is now threatening law changes to circumvent the mechanisms that ensure the conservation estate is protected for future generations. We must continue to be vigilant, and support the organisations such as FMC and Forest and Bird that continually work on behalf of everyone today and in the future who really do appreciate the NZ Backcountry.

We are running a series of more interactive club nights – a chance for newer members to learn, and more experienced members to encourage and educate our newer members.  We need everyone to be involved – meaning you - to ensure all valuable experiences and knowledge are available to encourage the next generation of trampers.

These evenings are also being advertised through our Meetup group (Auckland Hike & Ski) and our Facebook page, so expect to see some new faces. It is essential that you make all new attendees welcome and encourage them to join our activities – some of these people will be the lifeblood of our club for future years.

The experience of the Wellington Tramping and Mountain Club is that while a lot of their younger members are much more transitory, using online interaction does result in a significant number of new members, even if they stay for just a few years.

I know many of you are regular club night attendees and enjoy catching up with each other each month – how about having a chat together and help come up with a programme that ensures club nights provide interest and variety – ideas, contacts, suggestions are all welcome – just let me know.

Thanks !

Tony Walton