Park refuses teens despite booking
A group of teens' plan to party it up in Whitianga almost came to an abrupt end after their holiday booking was lost in a dispute between the campground owners and former managers.
When 18-year-old Aisling Pratt emailed the owners of the Harbourside Holiday Park in Whitianga to confirm her holiday booking on Christmas Eve, she got a reply saying the park was under new management and there was no record of her booking or deposit.
On top of that they said they had a policy not to let 18-year-olds stay.
Miss Pratt, and 14 of her friends, were planning to stay at the camp over the New Year and attend the Coromandel Gold music festival.
Aisling's mother, Debbie Pratt, said her daughter booked the accommodation back in August with the previous managers, paying a deposit of around $400.
"The fact is that these kids made this booking three months ago and three days before they are supposed to arrive there's been some management issues . . . 15 kids were going to turn up in a town they didn't know with nowhere to stay," she said.
"Even though they are in the right, they've paid their money and everything, they're the ones left scrambling for somewhere to stay," she said.
When contacted, the new managers of the park, Chris and Angela Evans, told the Times they'd recently taken over running the camp again and were trying to reinstate it as a "family campground".
Mrs Evans said the park was no place for teenagers, as she feared they would cause a disturbance to her other guests.
The couple have owned the campground since 1984, but leased it out 16 years ago.
They took over the lease again in October after evicting tenants Kim and Gordon Honeybun after being disappointed with the state in which they had found the park.
She said that when the Honeybuns left they took the log of bookings for the summer, leaving Mr and Mrs Evans with no idea of what bookings to expect for the festive season.
They tried to get hold of some customers they found booking records for, but some people were still out of pocket.
Kim Honeybun told the Times she was forced off the property with 20 hours notice and only took what was rightfully hers.
Mrs Honeybun said she returned the bookings log to the police to pass on, and believed that the new managers should honour the bookings that were made when they were in charge "for ethical reasons".
Miss Pratt and her friends have since found alternative accommodation in Whitianga.