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Signs of great and sustainable regatta

by | 21 Jan 2018 | Regatta 2018 | 0 comments

Ngarewa-Drive intersection sign

Signs of Things to Come: Because of the unintuitive layout of the Ngārewa Drive intersection, and despite many signs aimed to prepare regional park visitors for their easily missed turnoff, many sail past it, then struggle to find a place to u-turn, then are confronted with what is possibly the most ineptly-designed intersection in the region, if not the developed world. So, to reduce the chances of subjecting regatta-goers, particularly those towing boats, to cascading indignities, which this year includes a new, and probably more challenging, launching regime. design Mahurangi Magazine

The Mahurangi Regatta is the wondrous, joyous outcome of many, occasionally disparate, plans and agendas of volunteer, council, and commercial entities, of which the most prominent, after this year’s event, will probably be Boating New Zealand; the regatta is slated to be the focus of its next issue.

The publicity is welcomed, but not because the Mahurangi Regatta needs to be bigger. Part-and-parcel of organising the event, in the first decades of its revival by Mahurangi Actionfounded in 1974 as Friends of the Mahurangi, in 1977, was pestering retailers to allow regatta posters to be plastered to the inside of their windows. Costly advertising in the mainstream media—the only form then in existence—was considered unavoidable. Additionally, because few people knew Sullivans Bay, much less how to get to it, signs needed to be erected at the intersection of State Highway 1 and what was then signposted Pukapuka Road.

Trailered boat launching flier, 2018

Would be Stretched Too Thin Without Sponsor: With the regional park staff stretched increasingly thin, particularly on long weekends such the one shared with the Auckland Anniversary Regatta, the tradition of a park ranger launching boats, which dates from the park’s opening, is probably at an end. Wonderfully, the privilege of launching regatta-entered craft is being maintained, with a combination of self-launching and help from the sponsor for those whose towing vehicle is not suitable for beach launching. flier Mahurangi Action

It is inevitable that more and more people will attend the Mahurangi Regatta, regardless of it not being broadly advertised. Historically it was an event beloved by Auckland’s yachtmen, as it was rendered by Rodney Times in its inaugural, 1901, edition. Last year the commodores of nine of the region’s yacht and boating club, or their deputies, were hosted for lunch by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to discuss, with principal sponsor Teak Construction how the event can be made ‘better not bigger’—with the intrinsic understanding that improving the event will inevitably lead to, organic, growth. And while many regatta-goers would challenge the premise that the Mahurangi event needed improving, those involved in its organisation were painfully aware that, behind the scenes, there was much that was unsustainable—too few volunteers individually doing too much, for example.

Although there has been sporadic sponsorship, that of Teak Construction, for a three-by-three-by-three-year undertaking, has, for the first time since the event’s revival, and, critically, since the revival, also by Mahurangi Action, of the prize giving and dance in 2004, replaced the wing-and-a-prayer basis with one that allows the event’s unsustainability to be addressed. An example is the Scotts Landing shuttlebus. Because of the congestion resulting from too many vehicles attempting to access an area with nominally parking for fewer than 20, the free regatta shuttlebus has transformed the experience for visitors and property holders alike. Last year the principal driver was Rob Arnett, volunteering out of the goodness of his heart. He was also the in-period-costume driver at the Mahurangi Regatta Ball grand finale of Warkworth’s 150th celebrations. This year, Rob is in his 1962 mark-19 Seddon Nimoni, and a literal thousand miles away, and although the 12-seater shuttlebus has been booked for a year, there is still nobody to begin driving it, at midday on Saturday.

Free shuttle bus 900 metres sign

New, New Free Shuttle Bus Signs: Strenuous efforts last year to get more visitors using the free Mahurangi Regatta shuttle bus earlier in the afternoon, before Scotts Landing became bloody, gang agley when the two 600 x 1200 signs disappeared, between the pre-regatta meeting and the day itself. If the two delinquents do eventually turn up, they will be erected along this year’s efforts, for double the impact. And, far from free, such signs are expensive, but extraordinary efforts are warranted to keep Scotts Landing pleasant, during an influx of more than a thousand people. image Mahurangi Magazine

At last year’s prize-giving dance, seen contentedly sitting-out a set, West City Jazz Orchestraplaying for the Mahurangi Regatta as the Prohibition Big Band, 2004–2016 conductor Trevor Thwaites was asked:

I am about to turn 70, what’s your excuse!

Which invoked the response:

I’ve just turned 75!

Trevor’s seamless succession plan involved regular trumpeter Richard Breed taking over as conductor of the orchestra, and, aside from assuring that a beautiful relationship continues—it is Richard’s, and the balance of the orchestra’s, favourite gig—it nicely illustrates how this regionally significant event, to continue to receive significant funding support, for example, from Auckland Council, can evolve by continuing to draw in younger people. Mahurangi Action’s current president turned 21, as president, on the day she pitched her vision of the future of the event to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s general manager, a couple of years ago.

With Teak Construction’s cash, muscle and management expertise, the load is now considerably lighter on Mahurangi Action’s secretary, and his succession plan looking much more promising. If readers can help directly or indirectly to fill a few remaining gaps in the ranks of this year’s volunteers, now would be a fine time to make contact.

Whether as part of Mahurangi Action, the whimsical race organiser—the Mahurangi Cruising Club, and its ebullient Commodore Borislav Penchev, or one of the many participating organisations such as the Classic Yacht Association, Mahurangi Regatta volunteers, invariably, have the most fun.

Contact Cimino

7 + 8 =

590 Mahurangi West Road
RD 3 Warkworth 0983

+64 27 462 4872

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