Our day and multi-day tramping programme for the next few months is very busy, with weekend trip bookings filling up very quickly from regular and new members – a real credit to the organisers of these trips, and their appeal to a wide range of trampers.


We do need to embark on a direct campaign to bring more leaders up to the level of being comfortable with leading trips, as some of our regular leaders are not always available as a result of their busy lives and aching limbs.


It is very important to ensure an ongoing appeal of our trips programme to involve more people in the organisation of club activities – so that means you, whether you have been with the club for 20 years or 12 months. Do put your hand up for areas where you are most involved, and do respond positively to requests to assist and learn the ropes.


For the moment I am taking over managing the weekend day trips programme, picking up from the great job Russell Allen has been doing for the last six years – a time of great challenge given all of our local track closures and a need to adapt our programme accordingly. It is a sign of our times that you cannot assume that what we did in the past is the way we need to operate now or for the future – the ability to think outside the square, and not be afraid to try new ideas, is crucial to living in today’s very dynamic world.


With our work in the Kaimai, and at the national level, as explained by Jan Finlayson, FMC president, on her visit to our October club night, the backcountry and conservation world is very different now from where it has been in the past. DOC on its own cannot decide what happens in the backcountry, even less so the many volunteer groups who are keen to maintain and improve huts and tracks, and contribute to the nation’s ambitious pest control programme.


What does “co-management” mean?; are initial examples of it working?; and how will current discussions DOC is involved in answer these questions?


The breadth of Jan’s presentation at our club night was amazing – the number of challenges at a national and local level that FMC and related recreation and conservation organisations must address is huge – and we would all be so much the poorer if they weren’t continually monitoring for officialdom doing what it decides to do for the wrong reasons, despite all the park and environmental protection legislation that at times they pay only lip service to.


At a local level, our involvement with the Kaimai backcountry project is similarly subject to some very complex and longer duration processes to ensure it can continue to make progress – it has been a real relief to get the new hut, Te Whare Okioki, across the line and open for all to enjoy. This has been a major project, initiated originally in 2011 by the Bay of Plenty branch of NZ Deerstalkers, with a lot of stop / start hurdles since, resulting finally in a new hut in 2019.


Where we go to from here is a topic for much deliberation – we will shortly be producing an online survey to canvas the areas of most interest to people interested in the Kaimai backcountry.


Despite the occasional spring “shower”, we are firmly heading in the direction of summer, with warmer weather and more daylight hours. So time for everyone to get outdoors and enjoy whatever recreation opportunities we are capable of.



Tony Walton