As many of you already know, we are relocating the NZMCA Park from Taupo Airport to the Taupo Racecourse at 471 Centennial Drive this summer.
Please keep an eye on the NZMCA’s app, online Travel Directory and Facebook page for further updates, including the date the new racecourse site opens (sometime in December, all going to plan). The airport site will close indefinitely once the new racecourse site opens. This article explains why the move is necessary.
In December 2011, the NZMCA entered into a long-term lease agreement with the Taupo District Council to operate a member-only park within the airport.
Importantly, the agreement includes a ‘Right to Reacquire’ clause that effectively enables the Council to reacquire all or part of our lease area for the purposes of the airport’s operation. When exercising this clause, the Council must also make a reasonable effort to offer NZMCA an alternative site within the airport, provided there is suitable land available to meet the NZMCA’s needs.
While the airport site has resource consent to accommodate up to 130 vans at any one time, Motorhome Friendly Taupo is very popular with members both as a destination and transit location.
The number of members visiting Taupo and utilising the airport site has significantly increased over the past couple of years and the park is expected to get even busier as more Kiwis join the club with caravans and the membership approaches 200,000 individuals over the next decade.
In 2019, we explored the option of a second NZMCA Park at the racecourse to cater for future growth and demand. The Lake Taupo Area Committee agreed the site was well located to the north-east of Taupo and believed it would make an ideal site for members.
So, in addition to establishing a new park in Turangi, the NZMCA Board instructed National Office to continue negotiating an agreement to establish a park at the racecourse.
In late 2020, the Taupo Airport Authority (on behalf of the Council) informed the NZMCA that it needed to reacquire our lease area by the end of 2022 to accommodate the airport’s future upgrade and expansion plans.
The upgrades will ensure the airport can cater for Taupo’s expected growth and improve its service to locals travelling throughout New Zealand as well as incoming visitors to the district. Furthermore, new Civil Aviation rules required the Airport Authority to review the need for all non-airport related operations across the site.
When exercising their right to reacquire our lease area, the Council was unable to find an alternative site within the airport that would be suitable for the NZMCA’s current and future needs.
However, as a show of good faith and not wanting to leave the Association high and dry, the Council and Airport Authority agreed to support relocating the NZMCA Park to the racecourse, which offers a larger site.
The NZMCA recently entered into an agreement with the Council and Taupo Racing Club to develop and operate a memberonly park at the racecourse, with consent to accommodate up to 200 motor caravans.
We are currently working with local Area members and the Racing Club to develop the site in accordance with the conditions of consent before the park is ready to open.
Some services, such as water and the dog exercise area, may not be available on the day the park opens. However, we are working with local members and contractors to have these facilities in place as soon as possible.
We are also selling the gathering shed at the airport site as it will be cost-prohibitive to relocate. The Board will consider whether a new gathering shed is required at the racecourse site, in future.
Once established, the racecourse site will operate in much the same way as the airport site. The park may be temporarily unavailable during big events on site – i.e. the Taupo Cup Raceday on December 30, 2022. However, during these events, we will work with the Taupo Racing Club and endeavour to provide alternative parking for members.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this move that will ensure members continue to have access to a park when visiting Taupo.
Special thanks to the Lake Taupo Area Committee for their time and invaluable support with the relocation.
We are also grateful to the Taupo District Council, Taupo Airport Authority and Taupo Racing Club for working with us in good faith and entering into a new long-term partnership at the racecourse.
Finally, a HUGE thank you to the many members, both past and present, who helped develop and manage the airport site over the past 11 years.