Tradition upsets campers
A move to enforce booking rules at the popular Kaiteriteri Motor Camp could spell an end to decades-long holiday traditions for some families.
The Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve board has asked the motor camp to adhere to its longstanding ‘‘priority re-book’’ policy.
The policy allows people who have booked the same site for the same dates for at least five successive years priority to re-book for the following year. During the peak summer period, an estimated 95 per cent of guests fall into the ‘‘priority re-book’’ category.
Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve chief executive David Ross said flexibility had ‘‘crept in’’ over the years. This had seen some people who didn’t qualify as priority customers allowed to re-book their preferred site each year. This summer, the board had asked the campground to be consistent in its application of the policy, Ross said.
Camp manager Den Petch said the rule had been in place for many years, but wasn’t always adhered to. ‘‘You’ve got to have the same site, exact same dates and for five years. If you’ve got that, you’ve got a re-book status.’’
He said the policy helped to avoid issues with large numbers of people turning up at the camp on the same day. ‘‘We’d have queues right down the road if everyone came in on a Saturday.’’
The move has seen some families, who have enjoyed holidaying at Kaiteriteri for decades, lose their priority status.
People such as Annette McKenzie, of Wakefield, who has stayed at the motor camp on the same days for 23 years, have now been told that they don’t qualify for ‘‘priority re-book’’. She said the problem was that while she came on the same days each year — from late January to early February — the dates were always slightly different. ‘‘I just think it’s unfair. After 23 years, how can you not be classed as a loyal customer?
‘‘We won’t be returning and I can name a lot that are thinking about the same thing who have been going for years.’’
McKenzie, 57, had camped at Kaiteriteri since she was 17.
She and her husband would be taking their caravan to Pohara in Golden Bay next summer.
Ross said, under the Reserves Act, the board’s directive was to safeguard Kaiteriteri Reserve for the enjoyment of New Zealand families. ‘‘We want to be open to as many people as possible. There are so many who can’t get in here because, I guess, to a degree it’s locked up by families.’’
Some camp grounds, such as Totaranui in Abel Tasman National Park and Momorangi in the Marlborough Sounds, had scrapped re-booking altogether.
‘‘After 23 years, how can you not be classed as a loyal customer?’’ Annette McKenzie
Annette McKenzie is unhappy about the changes to booking camp sites at the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve.