Update on Maunga Authority hearing

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Yesterday afternoon myself, Eva Keim & Tony Seaman attended the public hearing for the Maunga Authority's proposed Integrated Management Plan to present the Club's submission in person.

We reiterated the main points highlighted in the written submission around the value of Maungauika/North Head and Maungarei/Mt Wellington to our club members and emphasised that we wanted to work with the Maunga Authority in a positive manner to continue to be able to fly these sites.

The panel seemed to be receptive to our pitch, with the Chairman commenting that it was a good submission and that the AHGPC would be consulted regarding the detailed plans to come, which is what we wanted.

He also clarified that the clause that we were concerned about, namely:
“The T?puna Maunga Plans must, as a minimum, address …… managing and/or restricting air access, for example paragliding and hang gliding”
was a legal requirement, and did not equate to the specific targeting of hang gliding and paragliding. This is really good to hear, as although air access has to be addressed, our opinions have now been firmly stated and I'm confident that there's not going to be any bans put in place unilaterally.

We did have a question about access for hang gliders if gates are put up to prevent vehicles driving up the maunga, which I'm assuming is a proposal that is being considered for North Head. (How that would work practically I don't know, as I can't imagine that the local residents would be at all happy about cars flooding the surrounding streets trying to find parking every weekend!) My response was that if a gate was seen as necessary then we'd want to be able to enter into discussions around being provided a key, like the arrangement for HG access to Mt Maunganui.

Overall I thought that our points were well received and the number of submissions that were sent in definitely means that we can't be ignored when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of the individual management plans that are to be developed for each maunga.

I'm confident that we can work positively with the Maunga Authority to maintain our existing ability to fly at these sites and hopefully we'll also be able to have input into other aspects such as planting plans so that our launch areas don't suddenly became vegetated!