Country's largest gun club to be built next to meditation centre video

LAWRENCE SMITH/Stuff.co.nz

The Vipassana Meditation retreat north of Auckland has concerns that a new pistol range being built nearby will disrupt the peace and tranquility of the area.

The biggest gun club in the country is set to open next to a major meditation centre in a quiet rural valley in Makarau, north of Auckland.

Between rolling hills and surrounded by native bush, up to 1,500 meditators a year hand in their cellphones, sit cross-legged and suspend all connection with the outside world for ten days while they observe their breathing in silence.

The silence will be broken when New Zealand representative pistol shooter Raymond O'Brien and his wife Victoria Pichler open what they say will be the southern hemisphere's best shooting facility two valleys away.

Pistol shooter Raymond O'Brien plans to start a pistol shooting range near Kaukapakapa, north of Auckland. Some of the ...
LAWRENCE SMITH / FAIRFAX NZ

Pistol shooter Raymond O'Brien plans to start a pistol shooting range near Kaukapakapa, north of Auckland. Some of the neighbouring properties aren't too happy about it.

The Vipassana Meditation Centre.and immediate neighbours are alarmed the shooting facility, which will eventually sport 30 gun ranges – including two shotgun ranges and a 300 metre rifle range – will be on their doorstep.

READ MORE:
Waitemata clay shooters under the gun
Planning dispute as gun club moves in next door to Wairarapa organic farm
Bullseye Gun club wins long battle with neighbour
Rifle range project to boost South Canterbury economy

"This is a very beautiful valley and extremely quiet. It offers a pristine and tranquil environment for our students. We don't know how it will affect us," head meditation teacher Ross Reynolds said.

Kirsty McKay, from the Vipassana Meditation Centre North of Auckland, worries that a new pistol range being built nearby ...
LAWRENCE SMITH / FAIRFAX NZ

Kirsty McKay, from the Vipassana Meditation Centre North of Auckland, worries that a new pistol range being built nearby could seriously disrupt their peace and tranquility.

Uncomfortable about the use of guns, he hoped meditators wouldn't be disturbed by them.

"We can hear their bell as they start meditation classes so they will certainly be able to hear any gun fire," said Lesley Rowntree, one of the 15 lifestyle block residents and immediate neighbours of the new gun club.

"The thing we appreciate most is the peace and quiet. We are willing to travel long distances every day for work so long as we have our sanctuary to return to,"  

Neighbour Chris Allen fears for the safety of his two young children and is also angry at the prospect of the noise. 

Ad Feedback

"They say the sound would be like rainfall on the roof, but who wants to listen to that all weekend."

New Zealand representative shooter Raymond O'Brien is between a rock and a hard place - wanting to be a good neighbour, while growing shooting as a sport in New Zealand.

"I approached the council asking where an appropriate piece of land with the right zoning would be. Acoustic testing has been carried out and we're below the threshold.

"A bird call from 10 metres away is 60 decibels, while our readings were 48 and lower.

"There is a demand for a facility like this – it's a growing sport and if we want to be competitive in it we need a facility that will foster training and growth."

O'Brien said he bought a large piece of land, so that much of it would act as a shield from the sound of gunfire.

"This land has pine forest on two sides and steep terrain which would be unlikely to be built on, it's designed so it would be as far away as possible from the neighbours and from the road."

Neighbours believe they've had little opportunity to oppose the gun club because it's been granted a certificate of compliance to operate, but does not need resource consent and no notifications were given to immediate neighbours.

According to Auckland Council's manager of northern resource consenting, Ian Dobson, outdoor firing ranges for pistols in rural areas are classified as recreational. This means only a certificate of compliance is required, instead of resource consent.

"We are told there is no process we can follow and building will go ahead," said Rowntree.

The initial plans supplied to the council are small - just two pistol areas of around six ranges in each, and a small existing building.. 

The council has accepted an acoustic assessment confirming the small 12 range plan would comply with the district plan noise rules. Resource consents would be needed for parts of the bigger plan.

The couples' plans only came to light for neighbours when they saw the Auckland Shooting Club website.

Clubs are coming under increasing pressure from neighbours over noise. The Waitemata Clay Target Club at Kumeu may lose its zoning to operate, over noise issues.

O'Brien is also a member of the Auckland Pistol Club at Brookby which may have to spend hundreds of thousands to mitigate noise after complaints from neighbours.

Most clubs hours are restricted to around six to seven hours in the weekend and a few hours on one weekday. 

 - Sunday Star Times

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Man dead after crash

The Highway is closed in both directions following the crash.

A man has died and another person taken to hospital with serious injuries after a three-car crash in Kumeu, West Auckland.

Dog walker hit by car

Auckland's Tamaki Drive is a busy thoroughfare.

Woman critically injured and one of her dogs dead after being hit by car near Auckland yacht club.

NZ's 'face of poverty' video

Lynley Beazley says she would not be able to survive without food parcels from The Salvation Army.

Lynlie Beazley has $22 a week left for food. It's been two years since she ate fresh fruit.

Gang beneficiary runs $6m property video

Head Hunters east chapter president Wayne Doyle (file photo).

Notorious gang leader believed to the target of major police operation.

Wellington

'Gay village' vetoes church union

Sara Rimmer, left, and Alexandra Saunders were refused a church wedding in St Peter's Anglican Church in Paekākāriki, on ...

Paekākāriki is known for being liberal. But not when it came to Alex and Sara's wedding.

Winds close hill road

The Rimutaka Hill Road was closed due to high winds on Monday night.

Strong winds cause closure of SH2 over Rimutaka Hill, and disrupt flights.

Who'll be Lester's new 2IC?

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, right, will announce his replacement for Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle within the next ...

Councillor with less than a year's experience in the mix to be new deputy mayor.

Turfed out by Wellington's wind video

Karori artificial turf blown away.

Contractors laid artificial turf in Karori, but underestimated the capital's infamous breeze.

Canterbury

Christchurch rolls out red carpet video

The Changeover's two leads. Kiwi Erana James plays Laura Chant, while British actor Nicholas Galitzine plays Sorensen ...

The stars were out for the premiere of The Changeover, based on Margaret Mahy's spooky novel.

$3.4m budget blowout

Christchurch City Council chief executive Karleen Edwards. The council has overspent by $3.4 million on personnel, ...

The council's spend on personnel has blown out by $3.4m – mainly due to hiring consultants to fill vacancies.

Whitebaiter river death 'tragic'

Helen Wood died at Kairaki Beach, in North Canterbury, on Friday night. The beach is popular with fishers and ...

Helen Wood reversed her trailer onto the beach before her car went into the river with her inside.

Sex worker bylaw faces axe

Police no longer support a bylaw preventing prostitutes working in residential areas. Christchurch City Council staff ...

Residents enraged at council back-down from banning sex work outside their homes.

Waikato

Preparing for peak kitten

Waikato SPCA expects to help at least 3000 animals this calendar year, many of them kittens.

Breeding season is getting longer and this year is expected to be the busiest yet.

Search for fisherman

Police and the coastguard looking for a missing fisherman at Papanui Point at Ruapuke.

Emergency services are searching for person who fell into the water at Ruapuke, near Raglan.

Powered parachute crashes

The powered parachute crashed on takeoff.

Man in powered parachute crashed on take-off, hitting a metal bollard.

Man struck by tree dies

The man was out chainsawing trees when one fell and struck him. He died at the scene.

Man chainsawing on a rural Coromandel property has died after a tree fell on him.

Taranaki

New lattes: Novelty or nutritional?

Turmeric and beetroot lattes are becoming popular but won't be replacing anyone's flat white or cappuccino any time soon.

Turmeric and beetroot lattes are trendy and tasty but aren't a miracle health cure.

'Undesirable' gully

Martin Moeller goes through Lucy Gully a few times a week and is disappointed that it has become a dumping ground.

A scenic redwood forest in Egmont National Park is becoming a dumping ground, a neighbour says.

'I want my pig back'

The wild pig that had been wandering around New Plymouth has been caught and will be taken to live on a farm.

A suburban sow gone wild has been caught, but her owner will huff and puff for the return of the piggy, pig, pig.

Taranaki lifesavers scoop awards

Todd Velvin won the DHL Instructor of the year award at the Surf Life Saving awards.

Todd Velvin, DHL Instructor of the Year, says surf lifesaving is "pretty hard" to give up.

Manawatu

Loud jets irk residents video

Sanson resident Bill Tooley points to where fighter jets have been flying over his home.

Could howling pets and shaking houses become the new norm in Sanson?

Gorge options given

The 13 alternative route options are available for public viewing and comment on the NZTA website.

Thirteen alternative routes to the Manawatū Gorge have been laid out for the public to discuss.

Immigration fraud

Mohammad Khan was under pressure from family when committing immigration fraud, the Palmerston North District Court heard.

His mother was denied entry to New Zealand eight times, so he lied to authorities to get her in.

Fletcher Reinforcing expands

Fletcher Reinforcing Levin branch manager Donny Smith and administrator Jen Syme at the company's Main Rd South site.

Fletcher Reinforcing's Levin branch is to hire 25 new staff.

Nelson

Revved up over hobby

04092017 NEWS PHOTO BRADEN FASTIER / STUFF
Preston Brunell of Stoke Mechanical and Tyres.

Nelson man Preston Brunell has got plenty of mileage from his lifelong love of custom cars.

New marine frontiers

Dr Serean Adams, Cawthron aquaculture group manager at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park.

New species and technologies will increase resilience of aquaculture stock for the future, industry told.

Life-changing loss

15092017 NEWS PHOTO BRADEN FASTIER / NELSON MAIL
Margaret Lacy holds a picture of her late husband Peter Lacy who had ...

Dementia affects tens of thousands of Kiwis, eventually taking everything from them.

Wet spring for region

It's been a wet September in the Nelson/Tasman region, with higher than average rainfall.

Spring starts out on the wrong foot in Nelson but it's not all bad news.

Marlborough

Love is wild

Rebecca Stoner, a florist at Forget Me Not, left, and Jessica Bunting, designer at Betty and Co, work on one of their al ...

It can be pretty wild trying to organise a wedding, especially these days.

Looking to the future

National's Stuart Smith, centre, celebrates with his family, from left, Hugo Smith, Fenella Smith, Julie Smith and Louis ...

As results are revealed, what's next for the winners and losers?

Librarian appeals apology order

Former Rai Valley Area School librarian Faye Leov in 2010 after receiving an apology from the school board for her ...

A former school librarian behind a defamatory letter claiming her former boss was a bully is to appeal a judge's decision to make her apologise.

Care switch 'upsetting'

Pamela Duffy has built up a close relationship with her carers, who will no longer be visiting her at home after the ...

For the past two years, she has built up a relationship with her carers. Next week, she may never see them again.

South Canterbury

Craigmore a designer's 'dream' video

Olympian Jock Paget is being hosted at Craigmore Station for the first fundraising event for a proposed new eventing course.

Olympian throws support behind proposed world class eventing course at Craigmore Station.

Fine weather back

A severe weather warning was in place for heavy winds in Canterbury on Monday morning.

The majority of South Canterbury is expected to have fine weather on Tuesday.

Call for model plane size limits

South Canterbury Model Aero Club vice-president Robbie Hellewell launches his Parkzone Visionair AS3X aircraft into the ...

Safety concerns prompt SC Aero Club to call for more rules around model aeroplanes.

Mechanics recall bygone era

Former workmates, from left, Bernie Foster, Allan Averis and Gordon Hutcheon check out some of the old tractor models ...

Three former Timaru colleagues take a trip down memory lane.

Otago

Fire victim's family 'gutted'

A Housing New Zealand house where the body of a man was found after a fire.

Heartbroken family speaks of their devastation in losing their father in a house fire.

False alarms go off due to thunder

A thunder and lightning storm hit Queenstown and Central Otago on Monday morning.

Lightning and thunder storm cuts keep fire brigade volunteers busy in Queenstown.

Family 'wrecked' as search suspended

Police are still appealing for sightings of missing Dunedin man Stephen Lowe.

The search for missing man Stephen Lowe has been suspended.

Two MPs for Clutha-Southland

Clutha-Southland New Zealand First candidate Mark Patterson watches his leader Winston Peters, give his coalition speech ...

Clutha-Southland has a new New Zealand First MP, Lawrence farmer Mark Patterson.

Southland

Meridian 'flooding my family farm' video

Looking out over the Hollyburn creek which has been flooded by water from the Waiau river.

Every time Meridian Energy releases the Manapouri dam, Thomas O'Brien loses another chunk of farmland.

Family 'wrecked' as search suspended

Police are still appealing for sightings of missing Dunedin man Stephen Lowe.

The search for missing man Stephen Lowe has been suspended.

And then there were four

Mark Patterson: secure at 7th.

Southland will have four MPs. How much influence is that?

South's election night

It was all smiles for Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie, pictured here with her husband Mark Billcliff.

Invercargill will have two MPs in Parliament, Labour's Liz Craig and National's Sarah Dowie.

Ad Feedback