Spreading between Kaiwaka and Mangawhai, the historical settlement of Hakaru is experiencing a surge in popularity, with new residents viewing the area as an affordable place to call home.
However, with more people comes more demand on amenities and on July 6 locals met with Kaipara District Council (KDC) at Hakaru Hall to discuss how to manage Hakaru’s Domain.
Chairperson of Hakaru Community Hall and Domain Society, Derek Mason, says the Hakaru Domain is a public place for community use and falls into council’s policy of community management for public facilities.
“New residents will bring new activities to the Hall and the Domain and will need to be managed… so other activities can use the area along with the Hakaru Pony Club who are key users of the Domain,” he says. “One of the prominent necessities is to provide safe off-road parking for major events at the Hall, Domain and RSA.”
A decision to form a Community User Group with two representatives from the area’s current organisations including Hakaru Pony Club, the Hall committee, the Hakaru RSA, the Mangawhai Cadets and the Hakaru Playgroup, was agreed upon by the 20 residents and council members who attended the meeting.
KDC Parks and Community Manager Sue Hodge, who facilitated the discussion, says the Community User Group will develop guidelines and a booking system around use of the Domain.
“Council will help the group get established and then it is expected it will be managed by the community,” she says.
Since the early 70s, Hakaru’s grounds have been cared for by the Hakaru Pony Club who retain a ‘License to Occupy’ until 2031. While not having exclusive use of the Domain, all proposals for usage must be compatible with the licence.
Hakaru Pony Club’s recently-appointed new secretary, Denise Rogers says that this means they will be able to ensure nothing interferes with the clubs regular rallies and competitions.
“Hopefully things won’t change too much for the Pony Club,” she says. “We will have to put forward a list of events we have for the season so that these dates are kept. Our riders won’t have the same freedom to use the grounds whenever they wish which they’ve enjoyed for over 42 years, but our arena is exclusive use, so that is in our favour.”
Sharing the grounds however does bring some concerns around safety of pedestrians, horses and cattle.
“We have neighbouring farm animals helping us with the grazing which may become an issue with stock being chased or let out, and rubbish and sharp objects left on the grounds by other users also
pose a hazard for horses and riders,” Rogers says. “We already have to clean up the grounds after the hall is hired out for parties and events.”
Due to a previous theft of a trailer and other equipment, the grounds gates are also now locked.
“With more people around we cannot guarantee this does not happen more in the future,” she says. “On the other hand if more people use the grounds, they may see what we do and become members.”
GROWTH: Hakaru Hall and Domain is set to be more widely used as the area’s population increases.
“One of the prominent necessities is to provide safe off-road parking for major events at the Hall, Domain and RSA.”
- Derek Mason
By Julia Wade