Sunday 13 April 2008

Pete and Jude visit New Zealand

Division 10 candidate in the Regional Council election, Clifton Beach couple Pete and Jude Johnston, headed off to New Zealand for some rest. They share their journey with CairnsBlog readers.
  • Hard on the heels of Pete's Election Campaign, I headed off to New Zealand to care for his 95 year old mum while her regular care giver had some time off. Pete's mum lives in the family home that she was born in. It's an idyllic setting of 28 acres on the Kaipara Harbour, north of Auckland.

    A neighbouring property, across the creek, is a working farm of 843 hectares with beef and sheep and pockets of lush Native forests complete with kiwi, wetlands and spectacular river views had been gifted by its owners "for the people of New Zealand's enjoyment.

    While I was there, this property Atiu Creek Regional Park was officially opened by the Governor General of New Zealand. It will still be a working farm, however the public will be able to access this spectacular place, walk over it, mountain bike through it and if you have self contained camper vans, may even camp there. There are cottages to rent as well. There are plenty of fabulous picnic spots and "bring your own gas barbies" would be a must.

    In the 1970's Auckland was blessed with a farsighted and forward thinking Mayor, Sir Dove Myer Robinson. He could see the inevitable time when land would become scarce and he believed that it was important for future generations of children to have access to parks and reserves. With this in mind, he and other like minded councillors and individuals set up what was to be the Auckland Regional Council and part of their brief was to purchase large tracts of land and turn them into Regional Parks for the enjoyment of the people. Some land had already been gifted, like Logan Park and One Tree Hill in the middle of Auckland City.

    The owner of Atiu Creek, Pierre Chatelanat purchased the property in 1951 when he arrived in New Zealand from England. He and his wife Jackie have lived on the property since then, with long stints abroad and the property being run by Farm Managers. When it came time to retire, Pierre and Jackie decided to "gift" this property to the QE11 National Trust who in turn bought in the Auckland Regional Council to manage the transfer and turn it into a "park". Pierre also believed his piece of land should be there for all and not the exclusive domain of the developer.

    Pete's grandfather had worked on the property in his younger days before it was sold to Pierre, and his mum has great memories of riding her horse over the paddocks and through the bush, so we thought it appropriate that "Gran" should be there to experience this momentous occasion. Our daughter Shannon, our niece Heather, and myself bundled Gran up, and drove over the farm roads to Ti Tree Point, where the opening ceremony was to take place. We got her into her wheelchair and manoeuvred her over the furrows to a good position to view and hear the proceedings. The smile on her face said it all and when we asked her if she enjoyed it, her reply was " I wouldn't have missed it for the world".

    As the Invitation for the Official Opening of Atiu Creek Regional Park, April 2008 states: "
    Atiu Creek Regional Park was gifted to the people of New Zealand in October 2005 by Pierre & Jackie Chatelanat. The 843 hectare property was entrusted to the Auckland Regional Council to manage so that Future generations can enjoy access to the Kaipara Harbour in perpetuity."

No comments: