Fundrais­ing by the pint in Ti­maru

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

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’’.

DOUG FIELD/STUFF

Ar­madillo’s Ti­maru man­ager Dawn San­dri pulls a beer from the karma keg tap which will raise money for the Can­cer So­ci­ety to­mor­row.

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