Our Proposal

Ōtaki - Māori Racing Club focused on mana and mauri.

By Ben Jamison, General manager.

We are aware that there is a small group who object to the actions we at Ōtaki-Māori Racing Club are taking to secure our club’s future, and to contribute to our community and people. I’m taking an opportunity here to say this: we had to do something.

 During extremely trying financial times for the whole racing sector, badly impacting our storied club as well as many others, we approached and partnered with Ian Cassels and The Wellington Company. At first we looked for local partners, but no one had the capital or capacity to move as quickly as we needed to.

We knew Ian and TWC could help us realise our vision. This meant first selling or leasing a small part of the whenua we have owned since the early 1900s, to build more than 500 new houses at our Te Roto Road property. 

As mana whenua, as members of iwi of this rohe, and as a board who must hold that whakapapa in order to be in a position to make these decisions, we did not take this step lightly. If we hadn’t sold what amounts to just 12 percent of our land, then we might have been far worse off – forced to sell under someone else’s direction the results could have been catastrophic for us. We would have had no say in what came next.

We aren’t the first racing club to use this land-sale mechanism during unfavourable winds, and we probably won’t be the last. There are plenty worse off than ŌMRC, including some who have had to close.

But, we are determined that the net outcome be a positive one for us and for Ōtaki.

This incredible development will include a mix of housing types, options for those connected to the club and iwi groups to buy-in first, and represents a tangible response to the worst housing affordability and outcomes for whānau anywhere in Kāpiti. 

The development will include a café, cycling and walking tracks, various whenua and taiao improvements and a childcare centre. The application, including plenty of correspondence with stakeholders, various analysis and due diligence, currently sits before the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in a consenting process – a transparent, publicly available process that invites scrutiny. We continue to engage meaningfully with that process, and hope that those who seek to work against the future we are trying to secure for our club and our people will do the same.