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Windy days, empty camps

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

For Castlepoint Holiday Park operator Kerry Ellis, the first part of this summer has been one of the worst in his seven years running the park.

“[We’ve] been here for seven years and this would be the worst summer on record, and last year was the best,” Mr Ellis said.

“[We are] usually busy all through January until school goes back, but it’s not looking like that this year.

“We’ll be lucky if we are a quarter full [daily].”

Mr Ellis said in previous summers, camp ground numbers swelled to between 450 and 500 people daily, but those numbers were reached on just one night this summer — New Year’s Eve.

“New Year’s Eve was a good night, we were full of course, it’s the biggest night of the year. But New Year’s Day was empty because we got blown out.

“People just packed up and left, whereas they would have stayed until the end of the week.”

The motels and cabins had been booked out, but numbers were down for those staying in tents. The wind had been screaming through the camp, he said.

“We had to ring people and tell them not to come because the wind was too strong one day — it was 166km — and it cost us two days of trade.”

Broken tents taken to the tip from that day had filled a ute.

He said if the sea and weather wasn’t right there was nothing to do, “and that’s half the trouble”.

“That’s what people come for — the diving, the crayfish and the paua.

“If the weather isn’t right, people don’t come.”

Tessa Carroll at the Castlepoint Store said even though the weather hadn’t been that great, there was still plenty of people visiting the coastal town.

Miss Carroll, who stays in a bach at the beachside town, said there was about the same number of visitors compared to the same time in previous seasons.

“There are people from out of town, there’s a mix of everyone and there’s been a lot of day-trippers,” she said.

Riversdale’s Waimanaaki camp (formerly Camp Anderson) owner Tania Hopman, rents the camp out to groups, conferences and family reunions.

“It hasn’t been a busy summer at the beach I don’t think. A lot of people have been saying ‘where are all the people’,” she said.

“We are getting these winds, and then a nice day and then a crappy day. You don’t really want to be coming out to the beach if you can’t swim there.”

Ms Hopman said she thinks summer is still coming, but in terms of bookings, she’s happy with the level of interest despite the weather.

Steady summer for others  

For Riversdale Store owner Bob Allsopp, it had been a steady summer so far.

“A lot of day-trippers make it very busy, and with the weather being a bit off colour, means people haven’t come out as much as there aren’t as many people at the beach,” he said.

The shop has been busy, but it had been an average December and January this summer.

If weather has not been exactly favourable for the coastal attractions, back in Masterton, businesses seem to be making the most of the holiday period.

Masterton District Library staff have been run off their feet with more than the usual number of people using the services and had been a very busy holiday period.

On Wednesday, the library issued more than 1700 items.

“There were more than 1000 people through the door, it’s similar to last year,’ manager Sandy Green said.

“This year we have run more programmes because of the demand, usually it’s just the summer reading programmes for children.”

Mrs Green said community related services, such as the constant use of the internet, wifi and printing, attracted people into the library.

Sherry Toia from Genesis Energy Recreation Centre said the pool has had a lot of out of towners.

“I would say it’s a busier year this year with mainly families,” she said.

“It’s been an amazing start to the holidays, it’s just been great.”

Mrs Toia said she expects it to remain as busy for the rest of the month due to the school holidays.

Summers compared

Tuporo Marsters, Metservice spokesman, said Summer 2015/2016 was warmer and much drier compared to the current holiday period.

“This run was cooler and with more wind that kept the temperature down,” he said.

Last year Christmas Day was 15 degrees with a southerly breeze, compared to Christmas Day in 2015 that was 18 degrees, partly cloudy and southerly winds.

New Year’s Day this year was 21 degrees and cloudy with gale north westerlies compared to the first day of 2016 with 18 degrees, partly-cloudy and strong northerlies.








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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