One of the signs warning the public that access to the Kaipara Air Weapons Range is prohibited at all times.
15 November 2017
Regular surveillance operations will help ensure the public stays out of the closed access area that forms the Kaipara Air Weapons Range (KAWR) this summer.
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.
Public access to the Range is banned at all times, including when there is no military activity.
New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) protection patrols will 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 access the beach..
These include people in four-wheel drive vehicles, on motorcycles, and who go surfcasting along the coast.
Many beach users are from the wider Auckland region and are unaware that access to the range is banned all year – at all times.
“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,” an NZDF spokesperson said.
The range is clearly defined on the seven NZDF warning signs located at strategic points in the South Head area, and these signs also outline the ban on access at all times.
“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,” said the spokesperson.
Banning notices are issued by NZDF patrols and the NZ Police have the potential to prosecute repeat offenders identified during patrol operations on the range.
The range is managed from RNZAF Base Auckland in consultation with Ngati Whatua o Kaipara (via Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Ngahere Ltd), Hancocks Forestry, the Police, and the Department of Conservation.