Impressions Of The May Meet
Impressions Of The May Meet.
May Meet - what is it? Well, I was informed that it's billed as the inter-university-tramping-clubs' Event of the Year. This year the Meet was held at Tongariro National Park, hosted by Auckland University. About eighty people attended, Vic providing the dubious number of three.
Travelling up to National Park was notable for rumours of heavy snowfall; arrival at destination was memorable for the lack of snow.
For two-and-a-half days a variety of things of varying interest happened; [unclear: .] including trips up 'the mountain', to Tama Lakes and Turoa Skifield, and the usual Trippers' excursions.
The Chief Ranger of Tongariro National Park arrived and gave a talk about the future of the Park and the present conflict between environmentalists and those wanting to exploit the Park for financial gain. He went on to detail the mistakes of the past, such as unchecked, unconditional ski-resort development; and what the future holds. Because of the problems with erosion, track maintenance, litter disposal and overcrowding of the present facilities, he thought that in the future a quota system might be necessary, to control numbers.
Perhaps the most controversial speaker of the Meet, on the same interesting topic, was Peter Mulgrew. This spokesman for Alex Harvey Industries, also known as the Turoa skifield salesman, openly admitted to a profit motive, overlooking the cost to the natural environment. Like a used car salesman, he told of flushing DC9 vacuum toilets, a creche for the kids, a car park (which has since collapsed), and other superior facilities.
He tended to ignore the problems of erosion caused by bulldozer access to Stage One, the effects of building on the vegetation, problems of silt in the streams and of rock slides; and the suggestions of the Environmental Impact Report. If we are to believe Peter Mulgrew, paid to promote the company's view, Turoa will become the North Island "playground" for skiers; but clearly with too much haste and not enough knowledge, for short-term rather than long-term benefit.
On going up to have a look around Turoa at the invitation of Massey (who own a hut just below the field) we could see that bulldozing to widen the road was causing further erosion problems, adding to already serious surface erosion.
To conclude about May Meet - it was well-organised, with "cordon bleu" cooking, including the delights of steam puddings followed by beverages. It is to be hoped that Vic can do better in future, with better attendance, and do a good job next year when it is our turn to act as hosts.