Fundraising by the pint in Timaru
funds for a good cause and also a chance for people to share a thought and have a beer.’’
Chesterman said the Cancer Society does not endorse the overuse, or irresponsible use, of alcohol and that the society would not be running the events.
‘‘Armadillo’s have been very understanding about where we are coming from,’’ Chesterman said.
‘‘They are running it as a business.
‘‘We are very grateful for the sup-
The karma keg idea came from a similar fundraiser in Australia, he said.
The company’s Motueka, Richmond, Blenheim, Greymouth, Prebbleton, Beckenham and Te Anau restaurants will also be taking part in the fundraisers held every six weeks. Visitor numbers to Aoraki-Mt Cook National Park have jumped dramatically but fall short of the million mark.
The Department of Conservation believes 945,000 people visited the national park for the year ending March, a spike of more than 17 per cent on the 2016-17 season.
The numbers are estimates only and are based on road counters on SH80.
During the ‘‘peak season’’ – December 2017 to March 2018 – the park recorded an estimated 460,000 inbound visitors by road: an estimated 3800 per day.
Aoraki-Mt Cook DOC operations manager Brent Swanson said the spike was expected.
‘‘It’s a combination of things. Nationally, there was an increase in the sheer number of tourists, and we saw that reflected here. But the main rise is over the summer, it’s not overwhelming throughout the year, so we can manage that growth.
‘‘We had a really good summer with virtually no complaints from visitors or on social media. I think people really enjoyed themselves.’’
Swanson said DOC staff numbers at the park doubled over the summer to 30, with extra rangers employed for compliance, track and facilities maintenance, and interpreting.
‘‘But it’s a pretty special place. On a good day, you can drive along the State Highway, see the mountains and just keep driving to the national park. It seems to have that sort of pull.’’
One reason behind the increase was the burgeoning popularity of the Hooker Valley Track, where numbers increased by 35 per cent.
Most of this growth was driven by international visitors (64 per cent), followed by domestic (28 per cent) and local (eight per cent) visitors.
That track now has more than 1000 visitors a day, with carparks and toilets at capacity at peak times.
Accommodation at Mt Cook Village was also booked out through the peak season.
Swanson said there would be some debriefing to estimate possible demand next year. In particular, there would be discussions about the infrastructure and staffing required to support visitor-number growth.
In the Budget, DOC received an extra $181.62 million over the next four years, including $5.5 million for managing the impact of more visitors to public conservation land. It is not yet known how this extra funding will be distributed.
DOC director general Lou Sanson said nationally, it had planned for more than 50,000 extra staff hours over the summer season.
‘‘Across the country we increased DOC’s on-the-ground presence in key spots, sharing local knowledge, increasing on-site interpretation, cleaning toilets and maintaining tracks,’’ Sanson said.
‘‘DOC is assessing ways it can sustainably manage predicted growth and changing visitor trends in the long term, while ensuring the values of the places New Zealanders care about are protected for future generations.’’
Sanson said DOC was working alongside a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in the Mackenzie Basin to ‘‘firstly understand the current state of tourism, and then to use that to work to develop a strategic plan to addresses tourism issues’’.
Armadillo’s Timaru manager Dawn Sandri pulls a beer from the karma keg tap which will raise money for the Cancer Society tomorrow.