With its historic hotel lacking only a hitching post Raglan may look a little like the set of a lawless frontier town, but for the police all’s been quiet on the western front these summer holidays.
Though good weather this Christmas-New Year has brought out big crowds, police say “calls for service” have been fewer than expected and that they made only two arrests over the peak period.
While east coast resort towns still had their troublemakers and drunken youths, police here say their only major concerns have been drink-driving — they nabbed half a dozen motorists during the day, which they say is a worry — and drivers flouting the rules on parking about town or out at the Ngarunui Beach carpark.
Acting Sergeant Andrew Mortimore says even though Raglan’s been very busy the crowds have been generally well behaved.
The ban on liquor in public places has also worked well and holidaymakers have been “obliging” if asked to remove alcohol, he says. And about all that’s been taking up space at the police station — apart from the 16 staff who were on duty for New Year’s Eve — is a pile of lost and found property.
It’s a similar story from other emergency services, with the fire service describing things from Christmas Day on as “very quiet” — though warning the area’s starting to dry out and that people need to be very wary of the fire danger — and Raglan St John saying their 30 medical or accident callouts since mid-December represent nothing out of the ordinary.
Raglan Coastguard president Wally Hawken similarly says there have been “no majors”. “It’s how we like it — the education message is getting through,” he says of boaties’ vigilance.
Against that Raglan has had an extraordinarily busy few weeks, with the town and beaches regularly packed with holidaymakers and day trippers, shops and cafes reporting excellent trading and accommodation around town very hard to find.
Chamber of Commerce president Stephanie Philp says from what she’s heard businesses have had a “very busy” time of it. “The better weather this year has had a huge impact and of course the forecast is for a long, hot summer,” she says.
Information Centre manager Anthea Jackson says it was a late start to a busy season but now it’s “here with a vengeance” and it’s good to see the businesses benefitting from this summer’s fine weather. The centre makes a lot of late accommodation placements and has been stretched some days to find everyone a bed.
The busiest by far of the accommodation providers has been the Kopua Holiday Park, where co-manager Mary Clark says business has been fantastic.
By last Sunday the park — which can take a whopping 1200 holidaymakers — had been “fully booked for seven or eight nights now”, though the pressure eased slightly early this week.
Meanwhile the Te Kopua whanau camping ground off Riria Kereopa Memorial Drive is describing its third summer of operation as “a great year helped by the weather” and is expecting its spacious DOC-style setup to continue to attract a steady stream of backpackers, campervanners and whanau through until April.
Further out the coast, Solscape Eco Retreat at Manu Bay — which can accommodate about 80 — was still full when the Chronicle checked on Monday but expecting its “high pressure period” to be over this week.
The Raglan fire brigade was kept on its toes pre-Christmas with a December 19 blaze which destroyed the two-storey Maungatawhiri Road home of Gene Glover and a Christmas Eve fire at a Ruapuke Road property. A garage was destroyed but firefighters saved the house. Emergency services were also called out on December 27 after a 4WD rolled on SH23 just east of the Maungatawhiri Road intersection. The driver was taken to hospital with back injuries.