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David And Goliath Battle to Save Coromandel Icon

David And Goliath Battle to Save Coromandel Icon

Shades of New Chums Beach and Awaroa Inlet in Save Opoutere Campaign

Campaigners are desperately trying to rally support to prevent the closure of the iconic Opoutere Youth Hostel near Whangamata.

The Youth Hostel Association of New Zealand (YHANZ) national board has made a unilateral decision to close the much loved hostel next Easter in defiance of a notice of motion to be considered at the organisation’s annual meeting in Wellington on October 28 seeking to have any decision on the hostel’s future delayed until full and meaningful consultation can take place between all interested parties.

At the same board meeting where the decision was made to close the hostel the national board agreed to recognise the formation of an Opoutere Hostel Members Group which has the stated aim of keeping the hostel open, possibly with the intention of being able to gag those opposed to closure through consitutional means.

Campaign spokesperson David Wildish, whose family has had a five generation love affair with Opoutere, said it was understood that the hostel could be “gifted” to another organisation in the coming weeks and it had been made quite clear by YHA chief executive Mark Wells, the hostel would not be part of the YHA network in any form after Easter.

If this happens, the closure decision could become “fait accompli”.

A change.Org online petition in support of the hostel in May has gained more than 1400 signatures, many from YHA members, but the reality is that the Save Opoutere Campaign will need enough supportive members at the October AGM to force a change in heart by the board.

Given that proxy votes are not allowed it will come down to a straight out vote on the floor, so a handful of votes could impact the outcome. (Last year’s AGM was attended by less than 70 people).

“For this reason we are urging all members who don’t want to see Opoutere closed and who are entitled to vote at an AGM to make a special effort to attend this meeting,” David says.

“In the meantime, anybody with an interest in saving Opoutere should register their support on Facebook at Save Opoutere YHA Hostel and tell us how they would like to help.”


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