Awatoto Field

The club has been located at our Our Awatoto site now for almost 25 years.

At times being on a flood plain has caused a few ‘issues’ with the field. The last ‘major flood’ was over the winter of 2018. For more information about this click HERE to read a PDF document about the flood and field recovery.

Awatoto Field, some historical facts

New Year 1993 saw a group of members make the first move to establish a flying site at Awatoto within the stopbanks of the regional flood control scheme. Having lost our long established trust site at Roys Hill on Highway 50, we were desperately in need of a new home. After negotiations with the Hawkes Bay Regional Council and the local farmer who leased the land, we were granted permission to develop and operate from the Awatoto site.

This entailed creating a proper access road from the stopbank crossing at the end of Waitangi Road, about 400 meters down to the field. A borrowed grader achieved this and the surface was metalled. Storage for our original (red) tractor was arranged at the Fertilizer works, and this with it’s flail mower was brought out to cut down the meter high grass and create Awatoto Field almost as we know it today. The site has proven ideal for our purpose with a generous runway strip running approximately East and West and pilots facing south with no trees or building to contend with.

As in effect we live in a “drain” we have to contend with some flooding, mostly minor incursions of water, but occasionally more severe with the resultant silt drop and damage necessitating remedial work on the field and access road. Although we pay only a peppercorn lease to the HBRC, our rental can be considered as the cost of re-metalling the access road and repairs to the field which may have worked out at a guess, around $1000 per year.

During our 24 years at the site we have made many improvements to the field and infrastructure and for the record, these are listed chronologically and where possible, pictured to the best of my memory and the archives !

  1. January 1993. Access road established and first cutting of the site with numerous working bees, using a borrowed grader, the club tractor and flail mower and members trailers, rakes and shovels. Long drop toilet and gear shed built and moved to site
  2. 1993/94. Original half round post seating added along the pits.
  3. 1994/95. The perimeter electric fence built to keep livestock outside.
  4. 1995 onwards, remedial flood work and upgrading of the surface, drainage and access.
  5. 2006. Shingle car park constructed and fenced with new gate and drainage.
  6. 2008. Web Field Cam and weather station established at the pump station.
  7. 2009. The Shade shelter was erected and seating below upgraded. The causeway out to the strip formed to allow better access after the inevitable flooding.
  8. 2012. The Dean’s shelter built. Seating in front upgraded with shingle and tile drainage below.
  9. During this time, the tractor shed has been re-located on the Ravensdown site and more recently extended to include a club room cum workshop
  10. 2017 The club tractor was upgraded.
  11. Current enlargement of south-western boundary and ongoing upgrade.

We are indeed fortunate to have a facility “par excellence” and are indebted to Ravensdown, the Hawkes Bay Regional Council and others in the community for their ongoing support.

Some images from the archives on the history of out field are below