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Glendhu campers prepare ‘collective voice’ for meeting

The Wānaka App

Sue Wards

15 May 2024, 5:06 PM

Glendhu campers prepare ‘collective voice’ for meetingThe Glendhu Bay Campers’ Association wants the camp to retain the affordability of a “good Kiwi holiday”. PHOTO: RNZ/Nate McKinnon

A public meeting at Glendhu Bay Campground tomorrow morning (Friday May 17) will give campers and locals the chance to speak with the campground’s new leaseholders, including CEO Frank Sharkey.

The lease for the motor camp was acquired by Australian company Hampshire Holiday Parks Ltd last winter after receiving Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval.

Since the change some campers have raised concerns that the new leaseholders would alter the ‘Kiwi camping experience’ families have enjoyed for decades.

Those concerns have translated into almost 200 campers signing up to a new Glendhu Bay Campers Association (GBCA) - with more members “coming in by the day”.

Glendhu Bay is “a gem of a place”, regular campers say. PHOTO: Supplied

GBCA secretary Andrew Kitson said the new group doesn’t want to “just focus on negatives, but also positives”, adding that Hampshire may propose “a good advance for the campground which would be great”.

“[The campground] it’s gifted to the people under certain provisions and that’s the value that the campers have enjoyed over the years,” he said.

“Those interests and values need to be maintained. It’s important that the history of the place is recognised and that’s why the campers working as a collective to say this is what the campground represents.”

GBCA chair Doug Fraser told the Wānaka App some “red flags” have been raised by campers since the lease changed hands, with one being Hampshire’s decision to hold a public meeting on a Friday morning “in the beginning of winter” rather than during summer when most campers would be on site.

Doug said Glendhu is unique and “a gem of a place”. 

“We’re wanting to retain the affordability of campers having a good Kiwi holiday.”

A meeting notice posted on the campground’s website said: “Although there have been no substantive changes to operations since the change of leasehold owner, the meeting will introduce the CEO of Hampshire and other key staff to interested persons. 

“An update on operations and proposed minor improvements to the camp will be provided at such time.”

The meeting will be held at Glendhu Bay campground tomorrow (Friday May 17) from 10am in the guest lounge.

Hampshire Holiday Parks Ltd also acquired the lease for the Wānaka Lakeview Holiday Park, Albert Town Camp Ground, Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park, and Arrowtown Holiday Park following the OIO process. Glendhu Bay Motor Camp has since been renamed ‘Hampshire Holiday Parks - Glendhu Bay’.

Read more: Campground’s new owner to hold public meeting