This is being written before our AGM on June 20 - to date no one has come forward to be ATC’s next president, so the most likely outcome is that I will continue reluctantly in that role, although keen to delegate a number of the things I get involved with to other members of the club.

On the Waitakeres front Auckland Council has now published its revised Waitakeres Track Plan (a link to it is available from the Track Closures page on our website), with more information on planned reopening years over the next 5 year period for selected tracks, a few additions into the five year programme, and a new category of “Investigate” following public feedback. These are all positive, if fairly minor tweaks to the overall status of the Waitakeres over the medium term.

Auckland Council’s current track standard is to metal / boardwalk / construct steps for the whole track (eg Omanawanui from start to finish), which is contrary to DOC’s approach of implementing similar track upgrades on just the sections of the track around the kauri trees (eg Govan Wilson to Dome walkway).

Recently as part of consultation on the proposed National Pest Management Plan (kauri related), MPI requested feedback on future national track standards for kauri areas. Both FMC and ATC submitted that the DOC approach is a pragmatic solution from many viewpoints, including risk to kauri, forest health, ratepayer / taxpayer funding, and provides a better balance of conservation and recreation interests in re-establishing controlled access to our forests. When released, we will be reading the final NPMP with interest.

Our recent membership brainstorming session attracted a good attendance from a good range of members, thanks. It produced a number of ideas for how to expand our membership base, and how to better understand the expectations and interests of all members. Please continue to send your suggestions through, because it is an ongoing activity of thinking hard about what we do and how we present ourselves to current and prospective future members. If you want a copy of the notes produced so far from our discussions so far, please email me. I now have a request out for a few people especially interested in this topic to help with tracking and following up on actions arising – please let me know if you can assist with that.

Summer trips planning is now underway, with the period immediately following Christmas targeting the wider Arthurs Pass area, and the second half of February in the Lewis area. A summer bonus will be a 4 day canoeing trip down the Whanganui River, taking advantage of Waitangi Day being on a Thursday next year – see this link.

We will also be running more frequent multi day trips planning sessions – the next one is on Monday July 15th, with a target of drafting through the summer and autumn months. And allocating time at each club night for discussing the detail of imminent multi day trips.

Tony Walton