Pony Club loses its battle

Papakura Pony Club has lost its battle to keep its grounds.

Papakura Pony Club
Papakura Pony Club

Last night the Papakura Local Board voted to terminate the Papakura Pony Club’s landowner approval to operate a pony club at Opaheke Park effective on 31 December 2016 and to approve the proposal by the Bellfield SHA to develop stormwater mitigation area on the parkland instead.

The decision, although not unexpected, is bitterly disappointing for the Club that has worked with both Auckland Council staff and the Papakura Local Board on the original concept of building a multisport and recreation shared space at the Park. We take great pride in the improvements we have made to the Park in the short time we operated the pony club there and have treasured memories of our time at the Opaheke. Of particular note are the events both equestrian and the Tractor Pull that have enabled us to share this unique landscape with the wider community prior to the Park being officially opened to the public.

The Club will start the season at Opaheke Park offering both riding and our unmounted programmes “Riders without Ponies” and “Equine Skills” before relocating after Christmas. During this time, we will work with Auckland Council to find a way to provide an alternative site for our club so that we can continue beyond our 56 years of existence so far.

We wish to pay tribute to Keith McCartie, a generous, humble and kind-hearted man who made his own private land on Walker Road, Papakura available to our club for 37yrs, asking for nothing in return and enabling many children to enjoy the interaction with their ponies and horses and develop lifelong skills that have made them great citizens of New Zealand. Sadly Keith passed away last week.

The committee would like to thank the members of Papakura Pony Club Inc both past and present and the local businesses in Papakura and Drury who have invested a huge amount of time, money and energy to build the club and its facilities to what they are today. We have a clear sense of purpose, and a vision of how we can develop further to give the local children pathways to successful futures both in their chosen sport of equestrian and in life generally. We are proud of our youth, in particular our teenagers who have assisted in our recent publicity endeavours. We thank everyone who has taken the time on Facebook, phone calls, submissions to the council consultation and by way of email to express how important Pony Club is to building strong, engaged communities.

Ruth Sinclair
President, on behalf of Papakura Pony Club Inc