We are delighted to welcome the clubs and members of the NZ Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association to FMC.
The NZHGPA represents 13 regional Hang Gliding and Paragliding clubs from Auckland to the Southern Lakes with a combined membership of over 1500. The NZHGPA represents the interests of free-flight pilots, to protect access to flying sites and develop the sport across New Zealand.
Whilst some pilots remain close to the front country launching sites, many head off into the mountains for challenging cross country flights. Using rising columns of air (thermals), pilots gain altitude before gliding to the next likely thermal source. By repeating the process, skilled pilots can achieve flights of several hundred kilometers in New Zealand.
A rapidly growing style of flight is “Hike and Fly”. Specific to paragliders (which weigh between 4-10kg for a complete set of equipment) these pilots combine part of a day’s tramp, with the challenge and beauty of a flight at the end.
Even more adventurous pilots will hike, fly, then land on a suitable ridge. They will camp for the night, and continue travelling for many days, covering huge distances.
FMC President Peter Wilson is thrilled to have the NZHGPA on board.
“It just shows FMC’s strength at the heart of the outdoor community. There are so many aspects of Hang Gliding and Paragliding which are identical to the activities our traditional member clubs enjoy. Nature on nature’s own terms, skill, decision-making, courage, managing risk and a strong affinity to Aotearoa’s wild mountains. We’re more similar than we are different! We’re delighted to welcome the NZHGPA: they will increase the strength and breadth of the membership we represent to advocate for mountain recreation.”
Duncan Macnab, president of the NZHGPA, looks forward to the support FMC can lend as the pilots fight to preserve the recreational opportunities they all cherish.
“With FMC’s history of determined advocacy along with their relationships and influence in the right places, it was an easy choice for us to affiliate. Our member are facing significant threats: Under-informed land management strategies, over-development and insatiable tourism growth threaten our ability to take off, fly and most importantly land safely on our public lands. We look forward to working with FMC to preserve a recreational future for our members”