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Ray Quinney Remembers book



Entranceway Flying Foxes

Quinney’s Bush was started in 1961 by the late Ray Quinney, on a 9.8 ha area of the family farm comprising some open spaces, many overgrown areas and a variety of mature native trees adjacent to the Motupiko River, as a means to raise funds for a new vicarage at Tapawera.

Quinney's Bush 1961-1996  Resident Hippies

Camp fees were by donation and the facilities included basic homemade amusements, long drop toilets, no showers or other facilities and campers could basically do what they liked.

Toilet Block  Laundry

As well as managing a sheep and cattle farm, Ray continued with improvements such as more amusements, basic and rough toilet and shower blocks, many flying foxes, roundabouts and of course, the famous bag rides.

Bag Rides



The camp increased in popularity over the years and over $200,000 was generated by donations, which was distributed to many different Christian organisations and charities. Quinney’s Bush was often full to capacity, however actual numbers were unknown as no booking in system or accurate camper register was maintained.


Ray Quinney died in June 1996, leaving Quinney’s Bush with an uncertain future. At this stage the TDC, OSH, Health Department, IRD and others were ready to step in and force Quinney’s Bush to close because of serious health and safety concerns. Mark and Marama Quinney then took it on as they had been interested in running it for several years.

At the time, Mark was teaching full time and then took on the subdivision and sale of the family farm as well as the upgrade and operation of Quinney’s Bush. Over the next few years, Mark decreased his teaching days to give more attention to Quinney’s Bush and then gave up all teaching in 2008. Marama continues to work full time as Office Manager at Nelson Honey but is also actively involved with the camp, especially over the busy season.

The upgrade has been financed from proceeds as well as some grants from Lotteries Board, Community Trust, Tasman Electric Power Board and Tasman District Council while Quinney’s Bush was a Charitable Trust but the camp is now registered as a private business.

When the challenge of upgrading Quinney’s Bush was taken on, it was very much a basic, rough and unappealing piece of real estate with many unsafe amusements, an unreliable water supply, very rough and primitive ablutions, fallen trees, blackberries, hawthorns, rubbish and resident hippies. However, it was still a popular holiday destination for many campers who continued to come in spite of the above detractions and the camp held many fond memories for many families.

Quinney’s Bush Today

The substantial upgrade undertaken over the past few years has enabled Quinney’s Bush to remain a very popular holiday and school camp destination. The appeal seems to be the many amusements, great swimming hole, back-to-basics feel, camp-where-you-wish system and firewood for campfires. Children have a fantastic holiday experience here and parents are able to relax and enjoy their holiday also with the kids actively occupied (without cellphone coverage).

Tent sites are not designated, only general locations and all campers book in at the office on arrival. Tent site bookings are now required as well as bookings for power sites, cabins and on-site caravans right through the holiday season.

Future plans include a self-contained accommodation block, motel unit, backpacker units for school groups, old toilet block upgrade, an 8 metre high treetop walk structure with treehut for native bird viewing, a double rotating 160 metre long flying fox structure and various other ideas.