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Ngawi dog ban decision disputed

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

A long-standing Ngawi ratepayer is not happy with the South Wairarapa District Council’s decision to maintain its line against dogs at the township’s freedom camping sites.

At a special meeting last week, the council unanimously agreed to scrap proposed changes to a bylaw which would allow dogs to accompany campers at both the Ngawi and Ngawi Surf Break Reserves.

The decision was made off the back of four submissions, three of which opposed lifting the ban on dogs.

But Daryl Sykes says the points raised in the submissions were “nonsense”, inferring that dog owners were “particularly dirty people and [were] not wanted on the coast”.

Mr Sykes is a long-term committee member of the Ngawi Ratepayers Association, which encompasses the coastal communities of Whatarangi, Ngawi and Mangatoetoe.

He said the association was firmly in support of lifting or adapting the bylaw to allow dogs to stay on the campsites, and had previously made a number of representations to the council on the matter.

Mr Sykes acknowledged the fact that many of the councillors were newly elected, and therefore may not have been aware of the association’s stance.

However, the decision was still “discriminatory against campers with dogs”, Mr Sykes said.

“The fact of the matter is, many of the campers with dogs were using those campsites well before they were taken over by the council designation.

“Some of those people have been coming out to Ngawi for years and they’re all of a sudden told they can’t be there anymore.”

The association met with South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier and council officials earlier this week.

Mr Sykes said he was encouraged as Mrs Napier had made a “firm commitment” that the council and the association would “move forward” together, including progressing the improvement of Ngawi’s infrastructure, namely the installation and maintenance of new eco-toilets, and a septic tank system at the community hall.

Submissions against the proposed bylaw change included concerns that allowing dogs to stay at the freedom camping sites would encourage more dogs to the coast, subsequently putting further strain on the eco-system and increasing the risk to the welfare of blue penguins and farm stock in the area.

The submissions also said there could be an increase in dog attacks, an increase in dog faeces littering the area, and it would be near impossible to regulate the dogs at the unmonitored sites.

Mr Sykes said one of the submissions “was clearly one in opposition to the expansion of visitor numbers on the coast”.

Regarding the submission in favour of blue penguins, he said dogs in campsites were only a threat to penguins in campsites.

“And the threats to penguins are more than dogs – add roaming cattle, motorbikes along the beach, high seas and beach erosion.”


  1. Yet another reason New Zealand is the dog hating capital of the world.

    None of the excuses ever stack up – Europe has paths all over private farms on which people can walk dogs and it is not full of dead farm livestock as a result.

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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