A landowner is building a private airstrip in a rural area on the outskirts of the quiet village of Otane, infuriating in-the-dark residents.

It is understood Josh Calder is using land he now owns on Elsthorpe Rd for a new airstrip so he can fly direct from his home to his top-dressing business Rural Air Work in Waipukurau.

Development has already started in the paddock, one across from Otane resident Kerry Thompson, who had no idea about the development until earth-moving machinery arrived.

Calder declined to comment to Hawke's Bay Today.


Thompson said he and a group of others met Calder on Saturday morning to ask what the intention of the works were.

"He said the intention is 'you guys drive your cars to work and I'm driving my plane to work'.

"He told us there would be two planes leaving in the morning and two planes coming in at night.

"They told us the noise level will be loud but it will only last for 10 minutes."

He said the noise would be exacerbated by the timing of the flights, which Thompson was told would "start early".

The flight path of the planes would be down the valley towards Waipawa, over new lifestyle blocks, Thompson said.

Otane resident Michelle Richmond said the fact the runway was being built without discussion with the community was disappointing.

"There's machinery on the property now doing all the work and I can hear the noise.


"We've got young stock on our property and planes flying in and out at low altitude puts young horses through fences because it frightens them."

Richmond said originally, due to all the new subdivisions going on, she thought it was just another going in.

"I thought that's fine, it's adding value to the properties, it's good for Otane, it's good growth for the region. But when I found out it was an aerodrome, I was really unhappy."

"These planes will be taking off really early in the morning, there's a 10 minute warm up, it's going to be noisy."

Other neighbours told Hawke's Bay Today the planes would not only disrupt the township, but also affect the value of homes within the area.

"I've lived here for 25 years and since I've been here there's houses springing up all over the place, and there doesn't seem to be any regard for that whatsoever," one who did not want to be named said.

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker said it was a "frustrating situation" for some residents.

The land was zoned rural, and the construction of an airstrip for 'private commercial use' was permitted on rural land.

It was "a very good example of where our new District Plan needs to balance the rights of existing households and businesses, with the opportunities for new activities", Walker said.

"This is one of the reasons why councillors and I have made review of our rules a priority during this term."

A CHB council spokesperson said the level of earthworks required was not high enough to warrant Hawke's Bay Regional Council involvement, and the Civil Aviation Authority had not publicly expressed concern.