Our trip planning persistence has paid off with a successful trip to White Island in May – after several attempts over the last few years that were thwarted repeatedly by the fickle weather conditions. I am looking forward to the trip report and photos.

It is no real surprise that the majority of the respondents to the Waitakeres Track Reopening Plan considered Auckland Council’s plans too little and too long term. We can only hope that this time the Council Parks decision makers do seriously listen to their user base and determine an approach that does better balance protection of kauri with the recreation and wellbeing needs of all Aucklanders, especially those of the communities for whom the Waitakeres is just over their back fence.

It is unknown why Auckland Council, citing mythical national standards, has decided it has to upgrade a whole track to a metalled standard, even when kauri are present for only a short part of the track, whereas DOC takes a more sensible approach and just upgrades the track sections in the vicinity of the kauri. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the MPI consultation activity in relation to formalising what the future national standard should be for tracks where kauri are present.

Our website Latest News page has an article called “ATC and Kauri Protection Initiatives” where we provide an update on the latest developments, including all the various submissions we have made to Auckland Council, DOC and MPI. From the same website page we also provide updates on the Kauri Science Series Talks 2019 being run by Auckland Council. That news item page includes links to video recordings of the past talks.

We have also provided a submission on DOC’s proposed amendment to the West Coast CMS where they propose to allow helicopter flights for recreational purposes into one of the huts on the new Paparoa Great Walk, so that walkers and cyclists can fly in and travel out in the one day. Our submission is that additional noise and introduction of users not aligned with the full Great Walk experience are unwelcome additions to what will be a special multi day walking or cycling trip. Our submission is very much the FMC view as well.

We are now in the process of refreshing the presentation and content of our website, and improving further how it is viewed on your smartphone. Given that the website is so central to how we communicate with the world, it is surprising how few comments we receive. Please – if you do have suggestions for improvement to content or operation, please let us know.

There is a summer trips planning meeting coming up early in June – please come along to add your bucket list items to the agenda, or send through your suggestions via email. The general intention for next summer is to have fun in the middle of the South Island – both sides of and across the main divide – quite a lot to choose from there!

Tony Walton