PFW Spring News

Welcome to Waiheke spring – freesias and jasmine on the roadsides, the busyness of birds courting and nesting, kids burrowing into end-of-year exams, and splendid long evenings.

As island residents and tourism providers alike gear up for Labour Weekend, summer visitors and the annual pre-Christmas party-goers, we’ve been delighted to see that Fullers has been giving priority queuing to locals wherever possible, and putting on extra boats to ensure that we all get to work and home again where it’s evident from the queues that not everyone was going to get onto the waiting ferry. Thank you Mike Horne and your staff.

On the tourism front, several Waiheke businesses have recently won awards for their unique products. Travel+Leisure magazine has announced Waiheke as the 5th-best island in the world to visit, and we will have another Headlands on the island in February. These all herald great news for Waiheke businesses, but a mixed blessing as visitors cram the ferries and beaches. Elsewhere in the world, high-volume tourist destinations are adopting a range of strategies for communities to cope with what is now termed “over-tourism”.

One major issue for Waihekeans is the struggle it becomes for some islanders to find a place to live over the summer and beyond, as so much of Waiheke’s rental housing stock is converted to Airbnb rental. Another bouquet to Bayley’s proprietor and long-time Waiheke resident Mary Curnow for becoming principal sponsor of the Waiheke Community Housing Trust, supporting less affluent locals to live in stable accommodation.

On that topic, Project Forever Waiheke is pleased to announce an event that will be of interest to locals. On 24 October, Professor Robin Kearns (an occasional local) and a group of his graduate students will be giving a presentation on Life When Renting on Waiheke – everyone is welcome (St John’s Hall, 5.30-7.30).

Project Forever Waiheke is working currently to support a range of monitoring and research projects on tourism impacts on Waiheke. If you are interested in taking part in these, please email Convenor Pam Oliver to find out more.