Banning Notices Issued to Trespassers of Defence Area
26 October 2018
Surveillance cameras have captured vehicle details from more than 100 vehicles seen trespassing within the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) Kaipara Air Weapons Range in recent months.
This week, banning notices were sent by the NZDF to more than 100 vehicle owners in a letter that stated a repeat trespass offence may lead to prosecution by the New Zealand Police.
The NZDF works with the police and other agencies to control access to the range. Public access to the range is banned at all times, including when there is no military activity.
Regular surveillance operations, including the use of drones, help to ensure the public stays out of the closed access area that forms the Kaipara Air Weapons Range.
The range is at the north-west end of South Head on the Kaipara Harbour. It extends down the west coast as far as the ‘26 Mile’ warning sign and includes part of the south coast of the Kaipara Harbour entrance.
It’s in an area of sand dunes, beach front, wetland and tussocks and is used for weapons testing and NZDF training activities including live firing.
NZDF protection patrols use drones to take images of unauthorised people and vehicles within the zone to improve security.
Specialist infra-red cameras are also deployed at strategic locations around the NZDF zone to capture vehicle movements.
The peak pressure on range security is in the next few months, especially on weekends and holidays, as more people use vehicles to access the beach and dunes within the range.
“There is an incorrect perception by some members of the public that access is possible when the range is not active – this is simply not the case,” said RNZAF Base Auckland Commander, Group Captain Daniel Hunt.
“There are always new people in the area and regionally who do not understand the 24/7 restrictions on access to this area. Some others knowingly ignore the rules, putting themselves and others in danger,” he said.
Authorised range users include different military groups operating throughout the range at any time. Public illegally accessing the range can pose a danger to legitimate military activities.
The range is clearly defined on the seven NZDF warning signs located at strategic points in the South Head area and these signs also highlight the ban on access at all times.
The range is managed by the NZDF in consultation with Ngati Whatua o Kaipara (via Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Ngahere Ltd), Hancocks Forestry, NZ Police, and the Department of Conservation.