Tra­di­tion up­sets cam­pers

The Press - - Mainland Live - KAT PICKFORD

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

PHOTO: MARTIN DE RUYTER/ FAIR­FAX NZ

An­nette McKen­zie is un­happy about the changes to booking camp sites at the Kai­teri­teri Recre­ation Re­serve.

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