Meditation Centre and Gun Club in tussle over silence

meditation centre

The Vipassana Meditation Centre in a quiet valley near Kaukapakapa is concerned that the biggest gun club in New Zealand is opening up near-by.

New Zealand representative pistol shooter Raymond O’Brien and his wife Victoria Pichler are opening what they say will be the southern hemisphere’s best shooting facility.

“The Mediation Centre hosts  up to 1,500 meditators a year. They attend a 10-day residential courses and are not meant to talk for the first nine days.

“This is a very beautiful valley and extremely quiet. It offers a pristine and tranquil environment for our students. We don’t know how it will affect us,” head meditation teacher Ross Reynolds said.

The gun club, two valleys away, will eventually sport 30 gun ranges – including two shotgun ranges and a 300 metre rifle range.

Residents in the wider rural community of Makarau are also concerned.

“We can hear their bell as they start meditation classes so they will certainly be able to hear any gun fire,” said Lesley Rowntree, one of the 15 lifestyle block residents and immediate neighbours of the new gun club.

Another neighbour, Chris Allen, fears for the safety of his two young children and is also angry at the prospect of the noise.

“They say the sound would be like rainfall on the roof, but who wants to listen to that all weekend.”

O’Brien say he is between a rock and a hard place – wanting to be a good neighbour, while growing shooting as a sport in New Zealand.

“I approached the council asking where an appropriate piece of land with the right zoning would be.’

“Acoustic testing has been carried out and we’re below the threshold.”

“A bird call from 10 metres away is 60 decibels, while our readings were 48 and lower.”

“There is a demand for a facility like this – it’s a growing sport and if we want to be competitive in it we need a facility that will foster training and growth.”


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