The People Beneath the Path

We are documenting the stories of everyday people living in the northern suburbs, beneath the flight path. To show the unfair human impact and suffering this change has had on our neighbours. A change that was inflicted upon our community, with no consultation process.  Have questions? - check out our FAQs here.

Our community meeting shows residents purposefully researched the area and settled in a suburb that suits their health, work and lifestyle needs. Some residents have existing health and well-being conditions that are now exacerbated by increased aircraft noise. We will be adding to this page as we collect more stories. *Real names have been changed to protect our neighbours' privacy.

There are international articles and studies documenting the impact of aircraft noise on people's health.

Neighbours, share your story here.

Izzy's Story

“We recognised the change in flight patterns as soon as it happened and it is affecting the entire family, including my 7-year-old who has ADHD. The noise disturbs my son, we have to try to get him down to sleep in between flights. If a flight goes over while he's winding down, it can cause him to be up and fidgeting for another 10 minutes before resettling. The children stop play in the garden to stare at the sky when flights go overhead. The noise scares my youngest - he rushes close with his hands over his ears. I stop gardening, or trying to chat to friends - there has been no normalisation of it, every time a flight goes by its invasive enough to command attention.

“At first, I thought it was an anomaly, just a one-off plane, but by the third morning I was cursing being woken consistently by the 6am flights and trying to block out the sound of evening flights so I could sleep. I've started sleeping with earplugs, and often a pillow over my head to try and get back to sleep once the flights start in the morning. The flights also set off our neighbour's Labrador, who let's off volleys of deep barks from early morning right through to the latest flights at night (if he's out in the garden).”

“If we are watching a film in the evening, we have to pause to let planes pass, or crank up the volume temporarily to overcome the noise. I'm so tired (I really cannot underline that enough). On an emotional level, I circle between rage, sadness, and desperation. Rage that commercial entities are profiting at the expense of my heath, and grief that those with the power to make a change seem deliberately disinterested in our plight. I feel desperate to get a break from the sight and sounds of aeroplanes chugging overhead.

“I submitted noise complaints to the Airport back in January but were told that because our location is outside of the airport noise boundary there was nothing they could do. Feeling exhausted, I've booked two weekends away to try and catch up on sleep, but I can't afford to anymore, so I'm just trying to tough it out until the flight path is updated to something less noisy.

“We used to enjoy our home and an outdoor life in the garden. We like the leafy green nature of Johnsonville. We moved here looking for somewhere with a garden, where our children could play, and I could have a veggie plot. I'm a keen stargazer, even if it's just observing them from the back yard. We would often be in the garden as a family, teaching the children about the changing constellations and planets. The change has completely changed our enjoyment of our home.

“If they don't change the flight path, we will probably eventually sell our property at a loss. We've only been here 3 years, so we bought at the market's peak, and who wants to buy under the flight path of jet planes? We will have to move on to somewhere quieter but I'm not sure the bitterness would ever leave me. We love our house and neighbourhood.”

Greg's Story

“I suffered a traumatic brain injury 20 years ago. I have not been able to work since the injury and battle continuously with hyper-sensitivity to noise and brain fatigue which is hugely affected by noise. We bought a house in a quiet Khandallah street to help me manage these symptoms which are severe and have affected everything I do, and all family activities, over many years. 

“The change has exacerbated my brain injury symptoms and affected how I manage every day. It has affected my quality of life to a significant extent. I frequently get distressed by the noise disturbance and the consequential brain fatigue can be very severe and unpleasant, and frequently limits what other activities I can do during the day.”

“Our house in Khandallah has served me well. I am home all day, so the tranquillity of our location has helped me cope with my injuries and left me with capacity to enjoy family and some social activities. I have also made the most of the great outdoor opportunities Khandallah provides - quiet walks in the surrounding hills are very beneficial - and I have an established social network in the area and feel very attached to it with my children having gone to local schools.

“I noticed the flight path change late last year, as soon as the change was implemented. It is essential I get frequent quiet rest periods during the day, but noise is very disruptive to this. I am now woken at 6am every morning and subsequently kept awake by the frequent planes. This causes me a lot of problems in managing my fatigue. I try to cope with this by changing my rest schedule for the day, but this is also affected by the aeroplane noise. I also find walks around the hills in the area a lot less beneficial with aeroplanes flying overhead and now do this a lot less often.

“If the flight path isn’t changed back, I will experience continued difficulties and distress in coping with the noise. I am hoping that common sense will prevail, and that the flight path will be changed back. I might be able to accept the situation a bit better if I believed the change in path brought any benefits to the city. It is hard for me to imagine any reason the change was warranted for a small city with ocean on three sides?? I was standing on Mount Victoria recently and observed that the new flight path probably maximises, to the greatest extent possible, the number of Wellington houses affected by the noise. In trying to write this, I have been disrupted several times by aeroplane noise.”

Cara's Story

"I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes. I am triggered by sudden noises and vibration so we made sure to do our due diligence on flight paths before we moved into our (previously) peaceful home in west Johnsonville. I am someone who is particularly sensitive to noise and vibration. Being near the native bush in Johnsonville Park and away from sources of noise provided me with a sanctuary. So when the flight path changed in December, I noticed immediately. Within a week of DMAPS being implemented, the sudden noise and vibration from the 6am flights caused another medical condition to worsen, to the point where I had to seek medical attention."

"I initially thought the change must be temporary, as there was nothing available publicly that I could find. How wrong I was.


"Seven months on, I still go into a 'flight' state when woken, which leaves me with heightened levels of cortisol wreaking havoc in my body and mind, often until lunchtime. On particularly bad mornings, I experience panic attacks from the noise and vibration. I suffer from costochondritis, which occurs during periods of emotional stress, it causes the tendons between the sternum and ribs to contract and mimics a heart attack. My mental and physical health is suffering greatly as a result of the flight path change.


"I was, and continue to be, frustrated with the lack of adherence to basic administrative law principles. People like myself, who are sensitive to noise, take particular care to ensure they will not be triggered and purposely choose not to live near motorways, arterial roads, train tracks or flight paths. To have a flight path imposed on you without any prior notice is heartbreaking. I know I am not alone in my struggles and I urge the Airport and Airways to reinstate the previous Runway 34 departure urgently, before people reach their breaking point. It's the compassionate, humane and right thing to do."

Cora's Story

“My husband has dementia and gets easily lost. We moved to Broadmeadows to be close to family and to enjoy the peace and quiet in our home and in the neighbourhood. We noticed the change immediately and I am now feeling a great deal of frustration and powerlessness, that unknown people could make decisions that impact my life so negatively with impunity!

"We can’t afford to move anywhere else as I’m quite sure this has negatively impacted the value of our home.

“I had just invested in having a deck built, as we don’t have a secure enclosed garden. It took a lot of time to get Council approval and to find a builder. In that time the flight path changed and the planes are now flying directly over the new deck. This makes it very unpleasant for my husband and makes the deck far less enjoyable for him. I also host a meditation group on a Saturday morning when at least 4 planes go overhead. This is problematic for peaceful meditation.

"This was to be our forever house and a lot of the pleasure of living here has gone.

Randall's Story

“We find the change intolerable as my partner is recovering from a traumatic brain injury. We deliberately chose this neighbourhood for the natural environment and tranquillity. Now, we are woken every morning, not by our alarms but by planes and this impacts our well-being significantly.

“We don’t believe the correct process in the governance and legislation was followed. The changes that were made, in the knowledge that there would be an increase in noise, is unacceptable but they did it anyway. We think that this is essentially an unnecessary act and an unreasonable invasion of our home and lifestyle.

“We chose to live in the northern suburbs away from the harbour, for the quiet green spaces that we are fortunate to have here and the easy access to public transport and social amenities by foot.

“We noticed the difference in early 2023, we assumed the change was temporary but then realised it was permanent. We responded by finding out what was happening and why, and then found this group. If this continues, we will lose value in our home if we want to sell. We don’t get to enjoy the quiet outdoors or sleep in on weekends or enjoy our back yard on a sunny day without 75+ decibels of noise every 10 minutes.”

Peter's Story

“We recognised the change immediately, as it impacts all areas of our living here. Our family suffers from mental illness - particularly anxiety and depression. The change has caused stress to every member of our family in one way or another. One member of my family has recently attended a sleep specialist who has monitored him to see if there is anything that can be done to help him, as his sleep is constantly broken by plane noise (late at night and particularly at 6am every morning) and it is affecting his mental state. How can a business make changes that impact health and wellbeing of a whole community? In a time when mental health issues have finally become recognised as a serious issue, I find it incredulous that something like this can be called a minor disturbance.”

“Our family has lived here for generations. Having lived in a built-up city, when we returned from our OE to have our family, we desired a quiet, peaceful environment, close to nature. We found a home at the end of a no exit street that boarded the native bush, with amazing bird song and no traffic noise. We have happily lived here now for over 20 years. The increase in birdlife has been amazing to watch and we are proud of NZ and its commitment to rebuild the natural environment. It is very sad watching the planes impact the birdlife near us.

“We have lived a major part of our lives in this community, and it saddens us to consider moving but if it is not changed back then that is what we will do. We are concerned that the aircraft highway over our family home will reduce the value of it. We would not consider buying a house under a flight path but we will take the financial 'hit' if we are forced to restart our lives elsewhere.

“We have discussed this issue in depth within our family and with our neighbours. We joined the Plane Sense Facebook group and have given money to support the group. We have also complained to the airport, attended the public meeting and I will be writing to my MP later today. We are at a loss to what else we can do.

Renata's Story

“We are very sensitive to noise (neurodivergent) so specifically targeted the furthest suburbs away from the airport to live. This noise has been keeping us awake in the early morning and all the way up until midnight some nights. We just feel like crying, as our walls shake and jets rumble overhead from 6am relentlessly. This has been going on for months now and it seems to be getting more and more frequent. 

"I am an entrepreneur and work from home. I need to film videos and host trainings for my job, and I constantly need to take breaks and apologise based on the loud rumbling. I find it hard to think and work during the days where I've been shot awake by the loud noises (I'm a very deep sleeper usually) and it's affecting my productivity and thinking capacity. I have a successful business and employ several people, but my productivity has been tanking and my business results are starting to show the impact of my sleep and constant stop-starts all day. I worry for my finances and for the people I employ.

“My husband had to come home at lunch time the other day, to nap because he couldn't concentrate at work as a data analyst - I would hate to think of the health and safety impacts for people caring for others or operating machinery. It's a tragedy.”

“We thought we had found the quietest street in Wellington, surrounded by beautiful bush at the bottom of Mount Kaukau and full of birdsong, whilst still being close enough to bike to work. The quiet was WHY we purchased this house, it gave us peace. We loved how quiet and low-key our street was, we felt very calm and rested here. We were able to wind down and think properly.

“We noticed the flight path change in December 2022. We were confused as to why so many planes started flying above, so loud and so often. We had to Google to find out that they had just introduced a new flight path, without consulting us. We have since contacted Airways and our local MP.

“If we can't sleep properly at home and I can't work from here, we will be forced to move which would be heart-breaking. We bought our first home here 4 years ago thinking we had found our forever home, where we would raise our children, with Childspace down the road and a quiet and safe street.

“I get frequent headaches now, which I have never had, as I am here all day for work as well, so I never get a break. I am absolutely in despair that one company's profits could damage so many people's lives. At the very least, they need to pay for significant sound-proofing in our homes, alternate flight paths, and have a rule that if early morning flights happen then late night ones can't happen too. 5-6 hours of sleep simply isn't enough. It isn’t possible to go back to sleep easily after being woken up and all the research shows that sleep deprivation is like torture.”

Laura's Story

"It's hard to put into words how utterly out of control this change has made me feel and anxious as a result. I hate to admit that I feel broken, it's the adrenaline and outrage that's keeping me going. I've never suffered from any effect on my mental health before but this is wearing me down. We live day to day, keeping an eye on the forecast and hoping for a southerly, just for a bit of peace and some sleep in a short interlude before the bombardment starts again. 


"As a Mum, I am also worried about the negative affects this change is having on my children. My 10-year-old suffers from anxiety and abdominal migraines, both conditions are triggered by stress. Neither are helped by a lack of sleep, being tired affects his ability to cope with stress. And now we are all tired, all of the time. It has to end because I can't face the alternative being this for any longer. It just has to end and now."

"I moved into the suburbs with my young family and I have two children at school. I fell in love with our home and we poured everything we had into it - our 'forever home',  after years of renting and scraping together a deposit. It was peaceful and it was ours to enjoy and relax in, it was my happy place. We enjoyed entertaining friends and the children loved playing outside. I left the back door open for my dogs to go in and out during the day, as I work from home. My home is covered in pictures of native birds, which I loved to see and hear sing in my garden - tūi, kererū, kākā and fantails. I'd wake up to the sing-song-sounds of the tūī in the morning from the Reserve across the way. I loved to walk the bushwalk paths of the Northern Walkway and feel peaceful. That's all changed now.  Our home and the children's schools are now directly underneath the new flight path.


"Over the summer things changed dramatically and the noise of the jets overhead were closer, louder and more intrusive. I contacted the Airport twice via their online form to see what had changed but got no reply, it was then that I found the Air Noise complaint email address and the reply I got felt like the world had been flipped upside down. A flight path change - and not only that, with NO consultation or notification at all. How does that even happen?! You don't wake up one morning and find a motorway on your doorstep. Which is essentially what we have above our heads now, a busier multi-lane highway for jet engines and supposedly nothing we could do about it because it's here already. But then the replies that were sent to appease us came! That we would get used to it! That it was perhaps a return to pre-covid noise. That it was 'reasonable'. It was insulting.


"The jets to the north, to the south and Australia come right over the top of my house and branch off, at times as close as 2.9k feet - I can see the windows on the plane and I can tell you what flight it is by its sound and intensity. 


"The last 2 mornings we have had 3 flights in 3 minutes in the early hours, just after 6am. There is no chance to get back to sleep because the next flight is never far away. Plus you never know how long you've got until the next one, it could be one minute or ten, so you find yourself in the darkness waiting, heart-pounding. If you do manage to 'drop off' inbetween time it's torturous to be woken again suddenly soon after. Instead of tūīs, we wake to the sound of aircraft crashing through the darkness. The whistling of the aircraft, as it announces itself and leaves, and the roar as it flies over, sends a sense of dread through my body, over and over and over again. In between times, there is the sickly, anxious feeling that the next one is never far behind. I've recorded sudden decibel level increases of 38db as a flight comes over and when you're in a deep sleep it is such a startling, horrific sensation, it feels similar to when you're jolted awake by an earthquake - except it's every day, multiple times a day. It's relentless. I've woken panicked, desperately trying to focus and make sense of my surroundings - in my own home. And I've found my anxious son curled up under his covers, staring out into the darkness in the early hours.


"I'm so incredibly tired, I'm exhausted. I'm woken up 90 minutes earlier than I would naturally wake every day, not just work days when I have to be productive - when I should be relaxing on weekends and public holidays too. I am too tired to exercise and weight is piling on, I just try to get through the day until bedtime, often falling asleep on the sofa in the evening. Lack of sleep and stress triggers my migraines and I have been experiencing more of these since the change. I had been going years between an episode but have in the last 6 months had many, including 4 separate migraines in 4-consecutive-days, laying me up in bed rather than spending time with my children, or being paid to work. As a contractor, if I don't work I don't get paid - but it's good to know that the system is saving organisations $1.3 million a year at my expense. My son hadn't had an abdominal migraine in years either as he was managing his anxiety well. Now he is suffering from them again and there is no medication he can take to relieve the pain, which can be excruciating and cause him to vomit. And then I hear about the effects this is having on my neighbours' health, who are far worse off than I am. So when I wake I think of them and the desperate situation we are all in through no fault of our own and I can't switch off - this has been inflicted on us to increase flights! We can't sleep now, how bad is this going get when they reach 100%+ of pre-covid flights! The planes can depart within a minute of each other and we've been told there is no limit to flights. All of this makes me feel incredibly low and sad, and then frustrated and really angry. All I want is to feel secure and peaceful in my home with my family. My sons are growing up and I'm too exhausted and preoccupied to enjoy it, because of planes of all bloody things! 


"We are a family of four and two anxious rescue dogs. My dogs now react every time a plane goes over. I couldn't hear my eldest son's pōwhiri at college because the aircraft noise over Onslow College was so loud. Come the summer I won't be able to open the doors and windows, we are confined and trapped, there is no escape from it, it's stifling. When my children are on the trampoline and a plane goes over, I just imagine what filth is raining down on top of them. These decision-makers have families I'm sure - show some compassion for us and our families. We are everyday people trying to live our lives without being a bother to anyone. Our families are worth more than your blood-money."

Tony's Story

Trigger warning - childhood cancer, death and suicide.
"This is a very personal story. Do not read further if it may upset you.

"Our family moved to the northern suburbs for peace and quiet for our daughter, who had just finished chemotherapy for childhood cancer. We noticed the change immediately. We all have struggles in life. We all have pain in our past. We are sharing our story to show how organisations’ decisions can hurt real people. People like you and us. We would like to share our story of why we bought our first and only fixer-upper home on a hill in Khandallah in 2015. I will tell it from my point of view."

"We had been renting in Khandallah at the time and my only child, my dearest darling daughter, was diagnosed with cancer 8 days before her second birthday in 2012. The years 2012 and 2015 might seem like a long time ago, but for us it’s like yesterday. Oh, how I wish there was a cure for cancer. Cytarabine, thioguanine, doxorubicin, methotrexate, dexamethasone - these aren’t just words to us - they have real meaning to us. We have seen what they do. Good and bad. I had to administer methotrexate and dexamethasone myself to my daughter during her ‘maintenance’ phase of her treatment. We also understand the meaning of the words ’horror’, ‘pain’, fairness’, and ‘death’. Pulling my daughter’s chemo-hair out of my mouth after kissing her goodnight is something I’ll never forget.

"In 2015, our then-five-year-old daughter had just finished almost three years of chemotherapy for childhood cancer and “complications”. It was a time to celebrate. Our daughter was still alive, although we almost lost her a few times. We had been renting for 9 years by then and we had managed to scrape together a deposit. What better way than to give your only child her own home. Her own room - painted pink! So, we found our little home - an ex-rental fixer-upper which nobody wanted, but we fell in love with it. Close to Khandallah Primary and Raroa Intermediate…if she can live long enough, she can enjoy both. Now you might be wondering what this has got to do with aircraft noise. Well, you see, when an incredibly stressful situation happens, like childhood cancer, your body pumps adrenaline into your system, you become very, very focused - you’re filled with cortisol too. I never so much as had a cold during those years. I didn’t sleep much during those years. Maybe four hours a night if I was lucky. The problem, I learned is what comes later… Depression…deep dark unrelenting depression.

"My daughter’s cancer diagnosis broke me. Not while she was fighting it, but a few years later. We never received counselling from the government during our daughter’s battle. My understanding is that families are now assigned a psychiatrist at CHOC during their child’s treatment. This went on for about three years. I never cried. I never got sad. I felt nothing. Literally nothing for anybody. I was waiting for her to relapse and die. What was the point of anything. My wife was crushed because there was nothing she could do to help me. Suicide was a daily thought. And then…one day it was time to die. I walked up to the top of Mt Kaukau with every intention of not coming down. I’m not sure how many hours it took me but all I remember is that I saw and heard nothing. I got to the top and walked along the skyline. Somewhere there I sat down on the side where I knew I just needed to drop - no more emptiness. I looked around and saw Wellington. Yes, it was the first time I was up Mt Kaukau and the first time I saw the city from above, even though I lived here for many years. I remember I could still see the moon during the day too. I had never seen something like this before. Everything about my daughter came back to me. I cried and cried and cried. I know now that the tears were the start of my recovery. This was in 2019. The journey of my recovery and the help I sought and got is a long one but suffice it to say that Mt Kaukau become a temple for me. I ran up and down it day in and day out. Mt Kaukau/Tarikākā - “where the parrots nest”, for me, life was slowly found again. Long story short - I was saved. My family was saved. This was January 2020. I also learnt the important lesson of good food, exercise and most importantly - uninterrupted sleep. Then covid came. The universe is funny like that. Covid is an experience we all share as a community, so I won’t comment about community, because I know many people suffered deeply through it.

"By late 2022 a resemblance of normality had returned. Finally, things can settle down now. Just a nice relaxing time in the garden on a lazy Sunday. Some yummy eggs on toast for Saturday out on the deck. Then Airways and Wellington Airport (WCC, Infratil) decided to step into my sanctuary, uninvited, and threaten to take away everything I have worked so hard to keep together. You see this new flight path is right above my house. Every morning I am woken one hour earlier than what I am used to. This has been going on for months. My disturbed sleep pattern has interrupted my eating habits. After many months of this, it’s catching up to me again. I’m tired, I’ve gained weight. I’m not eating well; I’m waking up at 4am every morning now! I haven’t been up Mt Kaukau for about 2 months now. I’m struggling. I’m fighting it because I know where this can lead. But I just can’t function without proper sleep. My wife can’t sleep either and my daughter is struggling too. We can’t tolerate this noise. I don’t think Airways or Wellington Airport truly understand or care what they have done. We didn’t move here for this. We didn’t make sacrifices for this. This was forced on us.

"I was at the community meeting, and I heard the stories of people’s struggles. My heart broke when I heard the gentleman talk about his wife’s traumatic brain injury because I understand. We understand. I know there are many others suffering. How many people are fighting cancer in the area and are woken up at 6am? I know what lack of sleep can do. I know what stress does. I know very well. Airways and Wellington Airport are callous in my opinion, they simply do not care. Little did they know that just down the row from them was a father who had been fighting depression for years and was starting to struggle again. We cannot afford to just move. Even if it was financially possible how can we rip our daughter from her friends where she has found a measure of peace? Mt Kaukau is no longer a temple - it has been defiled by the vile sound of the jet engines. Instead of working with us, all I saw was a Teflon slideshow and lack of empathy. I am ready for a fight with Airways and Wellington Airport. I know what it feels like to hold a dying child - some things are worth fighting for no matter the costs."

Leah's Story

“I feel helpless and furious at how the change had been introduced under the radar, with no community consultation or information. I get woken soon after 6 every morning, an hour before I need to wake for work. If I'm at home, I hear the planes go over all day and late into the night, and some are loud enough that I feel the house vibrate. Ear plugs don't fully block the noise. As a result, I'm constantly sleep-deprived, and need to take medication to get more than a few hours’ sleep. I love the hills, bush, walking tracks, birdsong and friendly people in our neighbourhood, but even the bush walks are no longer peaceful, as the plane noise intrudes constantly.”

“I have lived in Ngaio for 30 years. I bought my house here 6 years ago and I brought my children up here. I have lots of good friends in the area who are especially important to me because much of my family is overseas. We moved around a lot when I was a child so when I came here, I felt at home. I enjoy the people and the beautiful environment.

“I noticed the increased noise immediately. Since the change was not notified or publicised, I thought I had become unused to plane noise during Covid, and must have forgotten how it had been before. I am sensitive to noise, and thought it was my problem!

“I have considered moving, but my friends are here, and I work in Wellington. A couple of months ago, I decided to have double-glazing installed to reduce the noise. I'm a few years from retirement, and will have to work longer now, as this has cut into my savings. If that doesn't help, I'm out of options.”

Tina's Story

“I suffer from anxiety. My husband also sustained a brain injury two years ago. His life has completely changed and things like noise can trigger confusion episodes and repeated questions. Triggers like the rumbling and roaring of the engines now overhead.

“When it first started. I mentioned it to my partner and then did a search on Stuff to see if there were any articles on it. I was so surprised that we hadn’t been informed or consulted, to offer feedback on a planned flight path change. I haven’t raised it with anyone else yet, other than my family. But I’ve been really peeved off about it all.”

“We chose our home in the northern suburbs because it’s in a quiet cul de sac, safe with no noise but still close to amenities. My home is my happy place, it gives me a sanctuary that I can retreat too. It’s safe and quiet, away from life’s hustle and bustle. This feeling of calm and quiet is important to me as a sufferer of anxiety, this was a huge consideration when we were deciding where to live.

“I’m very aware of the plane noise now, some days it sounds like the planes are very, very low. I’m not usually someone to complain but as someone who treasures quiet time at home after busy noisy days at work, I’m now annoyed that my peace has been broken. I hate having to turn the TV up stupidly loud while a plane goes past, or if I’m in the middle of a conversation. We will have to look at moving within a year or two if it’s not changed back.”

Nathan's Story

“The change has made home-life exceptionally uncomfortable. Since January 2023 I have had to go on medication to help cope with the stress of not getting a decent night's sleep. This is in addition to prescription sleeping medication, which has caused other personal issues in my day-to-day life.

“The noise has taken a serious toll on our family dynamic. We have gone from a loving family which enjoys the peacefulness of each other’s company, to no one in the house getting a decent amount of sleep unless highly medicated. A once loving space is being torn apart by sleep deprivation and anxiety.

“We bought our house in the northern suburbs after living several years on a busy street, surrounded by restaurants and night life. We were ready for the quiet enjoyment of suburban life nestled in the bush of the hills.

“Life before the flight path change was peaceful and relaxing. The exact reason we invested heavily into purchasing the specific house we did. We always longed to rescue dogs, and our two very anxious rescues enjoyed the peace and quiet as well.

“We noticed the flight path change in the week leading up to Christmas, in 2022. In today's economic climate, it's nearly impossible for us to sell our much-loved home and relocate. If Airways and Wellington Airport don't change the flight path back, we'll be forced to sell up and move. This would cause a detrimental impact on the future financial stability of our family in an already pressured economic situation.”

Kate's Story

“We have just moved to Johnsonville from Newlands, to be conveniently closer to schools for our kids. We looked forward to being closer to nature and experience lovely birdlife close to the Reserve. We noticed how bad it is as soon as we moved in! We lived in Newlands for 12 years and we’re used to plane noises, we thought it would be quieter over here but it’s way worse as the planes exit Wellington right above us! The noise travels through the valley - it’s super loud and wakes me up every morning with multiple planes from 6am (even on the weekend!).”

“The flight path is impacting my sleep. I’m waking up super early every day and I have been crazy tired since we moved in. In Newlands we’d hear the 6am but it was in the distance and then nothing more - here it’s upwards of 5 planes in quick succession from very early on.

“It also seems like the bird life here is far quieter. The current flight path is hugely disruptive - in the time it’s taken me to write this 3 flights have gone overhead.”

Angela's Story

"It's so overwhelming, I can't cope with the overstimulation of the noise and vibration. Neither can my daughters. My daughter recently had to sit an online exam at home and despite using the quietest room, she struggled because of the constant aircraft noise. She's really concerned as she feels she didn't do as well as she could have. This was her final university exam.

"I need sleep. I have health conditions including a back injury that left me barely able to walk for a time, due to the severe pain. Lack of sleep exacerbates the pain considerably and leaves me unable to make it through the day easily and this has a knock-on effect to other aspects of my life."

"We moved here after previously looking at suburbs we would like to live in. We loved the area for many reasons but the most important one was the lack of noise. Having lived beside two major airports in the past we wanted to make sure we would not be under a flight path. Although they previously passed nearby, there was not that much noise at all.

"Our home was perfect - it's important to us that we have an "open home" for friends, especially our daughter, as we don't have any family nearby. We love to sit outside - we have some amazing sunrises and sunsets. I am into photography, and I used to spend much time outside trying to get good shots. We love a BBQ and chatting to our neighbours over the fences, sometimes having a cuppa while we chat. None of this is really possible now, as we can't chat without interruption. Not to mention the worry of the pollution these planes are probably chucking out all over us.

"When the flight path changed, I noticed immediately. At first, I thought maybe there were issues with weather but soon I realised it was a daily occurrence. I suffered alone as I didn't want to become the complainer. Most of the flights go straight over our house and much too close. It's doesn't feel safe.

"Once I realised that I wasn't alone in my stress, I emailed Airways and Wellington Airport. While they did acknowledge my complaint, I did not feel they were that concerned or bothered.

"I have been told by health specialists that sleep is important for my recovery and my ability to deal with the pain. I have now seen an increase in my pain and a decrease in my general health since the flight path change. I can't hear my family on a video call as we have to stop talking all the time, our calls are precious since we live so far away from them. We also can't hear the tv or music. As for having the doors open in summer, well it feels like we're right next to the airport.

"If the flight path isn’t changed, I will continue to be sleep deprived, ill, unhappy and find it difficult to cope. We will probably try to sell our house and get away from this miserable noise pollution. I doubt it will be easy to sell once prospective buyers hear the noise they would have to put up with. We will also be out of pocket for the work we did to it, to give ourselves a now unusable outdoor area to enjoy. Not to mention the small fortune we spent moving to a house we knew was not under a flight path."

Ian and Chloe's Story

"I have been unable to sleep and occasionally my wife will sleep on the sofa at the bottom of the house just to get some rest. My daughter has also woken up on more than one occasion thinking it was an earthquake. 


"The average noise level over a day is not a sensible measure. The noise often exceeds 90 dB and it starts at the same time every morning. It is basically an un-cancellable alarm. I am now conditioned to wake up just before 6am, this is 1.5 hours before my natural waking time, and I am exhausted. I now suffer from low energy and I fall asleep at any opportunity. I don’t feel like exercising and I am eating to maintain energy. I now also suffer from poor concentration."

"We moved from central Wellington to the northern suburbs 13 years ago. We were looking for a quieter place, surrounded by nature, where our children could have a permanent home. We plan(ned) to retire here.

 

"We live in a house overlooking the Ngauranga Gorge. Aside from very occasional noises from the quarry and works it was very quiet here. An oasis, to recover from the stress and bustle of our high responsibility work, and a place for our children to enjoy a free-range community of similarly aged kids. The flightpath used to run more or less straight up Ngauranga over the already-busy highway and the noise of the planes was noticeable, but not intrusive.

 

"We noticed the flight path change over the summer break, almost straight away. But it seemed to be dependent on the wind direction and the inbound flights continued to follow the old flight path in a southerly. The number of aircraft was initially quite low, so we were not sure if it was a regular or permanent thing, or not. At first, we thought it was some temporary Covid adaptation. Once it went on for a while, we read up on what was going on but we were still not clear on why the change had been made. Recently a neighbour told us about Plane Sense.

 

"Our house is on the northern slope of a ridge, so we get no escalating sound of an approaching plane, it is just a sudden roar as the jets fly directly over the house. Some planes make the whole house vibrate like an earth tremor. My daughter has woken up thinking it was an earthquake on more than one occasion.

 

"We work from home a lot (during Covid and since) and when the louder planes fly over, I cannot hear calls even using a headset, until it has passed. We recently took a long weekend away for the first time since Covid, and it was a revelation to have undisturbed sleep and wake up naturally. This was when we realised that the current situation is untenable.

 

"If this continues, we will sell the house and move to somewhere we can relax. We have already started looking."

Blake's Story

“As a result of the increased aircraft noise, our family is feeling constantly irritated, we are experiencing disturbed sleep and we feel we can’t invite people to visit. We are constantly having to apologise for the noise on phone calls and it’s affecting our ability to concentrate when working.

We noticed the change the month it took place, in December 2022. Our response to the change was to seek help and the support of our community - from other affected residents, to affect change and push back against the new flight paths and regain our peace and quiet.”

“We moved to the northern suburbs because it was quiet, calm and peaceful, with close proximity to the city, the Hutt Valley and Porirua amenities. We really appreciated the quietness and calm of the suburb, and it felt like a forever home.

“As a family we are suffering from sleepless nights, impacted days, constant irritation from the whine and roar of jet engines. Our mental health is being affected as we are always anticipating plane noise and are on edge. The noise itself works its way into your mind, to a point that you are constantly thinking about it. It is incredibly disturbing. People’s lives and homes should not be impacted by a flight path, to the point where they are wishing for it to stop, nor the quallity of their day being determined by the direction of the wind.”

Leslie's Story

"The now-overhead flights are noisy and frequent. I have a dog and a child who are disturbed early in the morning and late at night. It is a significant change to the environment we knew and loved when we moved in. It is very disappointing that our quiet suburb has been invaded by noise over which we've had no say or control."

"We moved to the northern suburbs for family, the facilities and for the quiet enjoyment of the nearby forests. We enjoyed a peaceful suburb with lots of birdlife and bird song.

"We noticed the change as soon as it happened, it was immediately noticeable. Previously the planes passed by at a distance, infrequently and during the day. Nothing like the extent we are now so suddenly experiencing. It’s made us feel incredibly frustrated and angry. We are concerned that should we decide to sell our house because of this, the sale price will be affected.

"If the flight path isn’t changed back, we worry that our property will have lost value, affecting our ability to move elsewhere and we will continue to experience poor sleep."

Mia's Story

“Since the flight path changed, we constantly get woken up at 6am. As parents of a toddler, who still wakes frequently at night, we need every minute of sleep we can get. It is frustrating that in the morning, it is not our son who wakes us up but the planes roaring over our house. We are more sleep deprived because of the extreme peak noise in our otherwise very quiet suburb. This has noticeable negative impacts on our family. Working from home has also been impacted negatively. Aircraft noise interrupts work calls and reduces our creativity and productivity. The change from very low background noise to peak noise, which are comparable to levels experienced close to the airport, has severe impacts on our mental health and daily life.

“We chose to live in Broadmeadows because our family enjoys proximity to nature, escape from the hustle of the city and the quiet suburban life, yet close enough to the city and work. Coming home to Broadmeadows after a busy workday in the city just re-energizes us and resets stress levels, with the green outlook, nature views and the only faint noises coming from neighbours moving their lawns or children playing outside.

“We would enjoy our time outdoors in our garden, the nearby water reservoir and take regular walks up Mount Kaukau. We enjoyed spending time outdoors and in nature to reduce stress levels. It has been important to us to teach our toddler to connect to nature.

“We noticed the change when we returned from 3 months away, In February 2023. As a result of the change our family has mental health concerns, experiences sleep disruption and our ability to work from home has been reduced. If the change isn’t reversed, we will continue to experience reduced mental health. There will also be less exposure to nature for our son, as we will spend less time outdoors and in our neighbourhood. Long term, we will consider moving elsewhere.”

Pete's Story

“The noise pollution, caused by the flights passing directly above our house and suburb, has had a profoundly negative impact on our daily lives. My wife and I are the parents of two young children, both under the age of five, and the constant disturbance from the early hours of the morning until late at night is making it extremely challenging to maintain a healthy living environment for them. We have also noticed the recent increase in flights above our house, which further disturbs us.

 

“The noise level has become utterly unbearable, disrupting our sleep patterns, hindering our ability to concentrate, and adversely affecting our overall well-being. As parents, we are particularly concerned about the potential long-term effects of prolonged exposure to such noise and pollution on our children's development and health. The disruptive flight path has also made it nearly impossible for our children to play outdoors comfortably or even engage in indoor activities without being constantly startled by the noise of the planes. This will only be exacerbated as summer comes with more time being spent outside and the house being opened up to keep the temperature cool inside.”

“I am deeply concerned and frustrated regarding the changes to the Airport flight path, which now directly impacts my residence in the northern Wellington suburb of Ngaio. I am deeply disappointed that no effort was made to inform or consult the residents who are now bearing the brunt of these changes. It is our right as citizens to be heard and taken into consideration when decisions of this magnitude are made, especially when they have such a significant impact on our daily lives. The lack of transparency and communication has only increased our frustration and feelings towards the situation.

 

“Please provide us with information on any measures that will be taken to mitigate the noise pollution over the northern suburbs of Wellington and revert to the original flight path before DMAPs. We are at the point of desperation and if nothing is done, we will need to look at moving to mitigate the impacts of this on our family. Being put in this position I find extremely infuriating and upsetting and had I known this would happen we would not have wanted to settle in this area.”

Cris's Story

“It is impossible for me to sleep through the noise, so I am continually experiencing broken sleep. We used to have a lovely quiet neighbourhood with plenty of birds, but it is now void of most birdsong and constantly stressful. I started to keep a log of all flights going over us but the act of recording them was getting in the way of daily life. The physical representation of the volume of flights was soul-destroying, so I had to stop.”

“I am consistently woken between 0600 and 0615 most mornings, by three planes flying low and loud over my house. On a good day we can expect two planes before 0615, but this is after several aircraft arriving late and in the middle of the night. The long slow drone goes on and on and it continues all day.

 

The noise, depending on the height, can reverberate around us - especially on cloudy days when we feel surrounded by the noise. I am so incredibly angry that this has been done to us, and so frustrated because I have no confidence that anyone is listening to us.  My heart rate feels like it fluctuates each time a plane flies over.”

Claire's Story

“The decision to change the flight path needs to be reversed and I urge Plane Sense not to give up on this matter.

“It feels like we are living in a constant storm! The noise of a plane waking you up is traumatic. It wakes you up with a shock. It is frightening at 6am! There is no let-up - midnight to 1am, then from 6am; between 6am and 7am, 3-5pm, 7-10pm, mealtimes, family time, breakfast, afternoons, watching loud tv. It is all drowned out by plane noise. Weekdays, weekends, public holidays…there is no break. I can’t even go to bed early, as I hear the planes before 1am, then I am woken up again at 6am. It is so tiring and stressful.”

“Our neighbourhood used to be quiet, with a community focus and peaceful. With the Reserve on our doorstep, it felt full of nature and enjoyable green spaces. I could happily sit in the garden before the change, now we hear planes that drown out family and recreational time.

“I noticed the change immediately and I wrote to the Airport and Council.

“The lack of sleep and the effect of increased stress is affecting my health and well-being. I am not constantly tired before the day even starts; it is exhausting. The constant noise plays havoc with your senses and nervous system.”

Gill's Story

“I am a poor sleeper, and having lived close to flightpaths, motorways and urban rail in the past, I was keen to avoid those sources of noise.

“If the flight path isn’t changed back, my health and wellbeing will continue to deteriorate. We are not in a position to move. The health and wellbeing issues caused by the flight path change are making me less able to cope with other challenges including an autistic family member, stressful and unpleasant work situations, public transport issues and health problems.

“I'm angry and upset. I’m appalled that some faceless corporation can get away with doing this. I wrote to the company and joined Plane Sense as soon as I found out about it. Each time the jets go overhead, I feel nausea from the vibration.”

“We've lived here for 15 years. We chose it because it's green, pleasant, and quiet. We had a peaceful outlook over a valley reserve. I love watching and hearing the birds - we have tūī, kerūrū, kākā, ruru, pīwakawaka, as well as lively thrushes, blackbirds and waxeyes. I enjoyed going for early morning walks around the quiet streets. My work is stressful, and that walk would "fill my cup".

“I noticed the change on the very first day. The noise was obviously louder, the planes coming directly overhead rather than slightly to the northeast of the house. But the worst is the vibration which I can feel in my body, particularly when international jets and prop planes are passing. It is nauseating.

“I feel exhausted. I rarely get to sleep before midnight, but if I do, I'm woken up by any planes flying over and then I am woken up by the planes just after 6am. On days when we have a southerly I still wake up in the morning in expectation. The vibrations give me transient but unpleasant nausea which in turn has triggered an anxiety. We are frustrated at having to stop conversations when a plane goes over even when we are inside. We don't bother going outside now, our enjoyment of the garden has been ruined, as have my peaceful morning walks. The planes are so close I feel like my privacy is being invaded.”

Sally's Story

“My husband and I are upset and angry at the increased plane noise over our Khandallah home. We chose to purchase a home in Khandallah specifically because it was a quiet, leafy suburb surrounded by bush and bird life. All this is being spoiled by the constant invasion of aircraft noise. We are both light sleepers and the noise causes us stress and interrupted sleep so that now both have to take naps whenever we can. I have become anxious and have resorted to medication to give me a good night’s sleep every week. When ‘wellness’ is something our community of New Zealanders is embracing, it is baffling how Airways is permitted to contribute to our poor mental health because of noise pollution.”

“Our community is embracing a clean, green environment, and yet our birds are also fleeing our suburb because of the aircraft noise. We have definitely noticed fewer birds in our garden.

 

“Please restore our peace and quiet by taking off over the water. It’s really wearing us down. We understand that the DMAPS diversion is approximately 30 degrees. Why can't the flight path be returned to what it was and the new DMAPS path be retained and the new path be used for any missed approach?”

Lisa's Story

“My two children are being woken early every morning. They, and I are constantly tired. There is no such thing as a sleep-in on the weekends anymore. There is just no opportunity to relax without the incessant noise. My youngest suffers from anxiety and the lack of sleep is having a severe impact on his mental state at home and at school.

“We chose to live here, close enough to the city but far enough away from it, in a leafy, green neighbourhood that was quiet and friendly. We enjoyed a peaceful space, both indoors and out. We previously spent time our large back garden, visited often by native birdlife in our many trees. Now we have to keep our windows and doors closed in an attempt to reduce the noise. I loved spending time in our garden, but now it’s not the peaceful place it used to be. I also can’t remember the last time I saw native birds in our backyard. It’s a real pity. ” 

“Our house was renovated a few years ago. We have double glazing, some triple glazing, insulation and noise reducing wall linings in bedrooms. This was put in to reduce any noise from buses and traffic as we’re close to the road, and it worked. These measures have no impact on reducing noise from the planes though. The noise and rumble are another level. Being on a hill the noise and the rumble of the planes as they fly, what feels directly over our home, is distracting.

“I noticed as soon as the flight path changed. We have contacted Airways and Wellington Airport many times. We have lived in this suburb for 20 years; it is very disappointing to have this happen.”

George's Story

“We moved to Johnsonville from the Hutt, so that our son could go to a kaupapa Māori school and to be closer to other family members. We searched for this house for about 6 months. We wanted a character place with a garden, and room for our boys to flourish. We also had an opportunity to work from home more often, in both a corporate role and as artists. We wanted a place with sun so we could be outside more often.

“Now, we can’t do these things. I’ve also noticed when I’ve flown over, the planes fly so low that you can see right into my back yard, which is pretty unnerving.”

“We noticed the flight path change before Christmas 2022. We can no longer set a laptop up outside for meetings because we’re often presenting, and the noise is very loud from the planes. I have had to pause the presentation and apologise etc. We are not supportive of the new flight path, we’ve since joined the Facebook group and had intended to go to the community meeting but were unfortunately away. If the flight path doesn’t change it will limit the enjoyment of our home, the outside areas but inside it’s pretty loud too.”

Rose's Story

“The flight path change has severely and negatively impacted my household. We live in the northern suburbs because my husband’s family home is here, his family has lived here for over 50 years. Now, our sleep is completely disturbed, which further impacts our daily performance. I can’t bear to think what will happen if this decision isn’t reversed, we will have to consider leaving our home, family history and suburb, it’s just unbearable.

“I know of neighbours who haven’t complained (yet) but who are also affected, this is a widespread issue, people are generally upset and think the flight path change is wrong. One neighbour told me, baffled, “They didn`t consult us in any way".”

“I came from a big European city, and I enjoyed the peace and relative tranquillity here. That was until the change. I began noticing towards the end of December. At first, I wrote to the Airport and Aviation Security, the latter because I thought that there was an emergency or something. When I heard they had changed the flight path, I complained to the Airport and contacted the Johnsonville Resident`s Association.

“As residents we are being severely, negatively impacted. I cannot contemplate this continuing, it is just unbearable.”

Carter's Story

“My wife and I deliberately bought in a quiet area. We previously lived in Ngaio and loved the birds, the view, and the quiet lifestyle. The suburbs were a quiet and safe community to raise our daughter.

I noticed the change when I returned home over the summer, in mid-January. I was, and am, very angry. There was no consultation. If there had have, I would have made submissions opposing it. It seems to me that Airways deliberately slipped this quietly through, hoping to get away with it.”

“I am woken up every day at 0602 by a flight a few hundred metres above me. By 0610 there has been three flights. I literally wake up angry every morning. When I am trying to get to sleep after 2130 a few more flights wake me. The occasional flight arriving at around midnight often intrudes on my sleep. There is no such thing as a quiet relaxing weekend anymore as any conversation is punctuated by aircraft noise. On top of this, I foresee that my house price will be damaged.”

Isobel's Story

“We selected our section to invest in and build our dream home on because it was on a quiet street that had plenty of bird life. Our house and garden were peaceful places to sit and relax. We had Tūī’s nesting in the trees around our house, lots of fantails would dart around and Kererū would sit and watch.

“As a result of the flight path change our home is no longer the peaceful place we built. The increased plane noise is affecting our enjoyment and our mental health. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets.

“We are incredibly unhappy that this has happened. Throughout the first months of the change, I often looked for more information and for a group to support the reinstatement of the original flight path, or else a suitable alternative. As soon as I saw Plane Sense I joined up.”

“We noticed the change in the flight path in December 2022. We thought it might just be just a temporary thing. I looked for information about it and who I could contact but at that stage there weren’t any groups I could sign up with to share our thoughts and impacts with.

“In a northerly we get woken up at 6am with jets roaring overhead and the noise continues throughout the day. It can be quite loud inside (even with double glazing) and outside it can be deafening. Relaxing outside with a book is no longer an option and when socialising you have to talk between the planes. The birds are gone, we now only have the odd black bird and sparrow. I work from home and am constantly distracted by the noise.

“Many thanks to the Plane Sense team for bringing everyone together and for all the hard work.

Anne's Story

“We noticed the change in December 2022 I thought there must have been an aircraft emergency because a plane was flying low, right above our house. I felt frightened at first, then disbelief that the new flight path is permanent and without any community consultation. I’m very frustrated that our beautiful home is no longer peaceful, and I am tired of my children being woken up. We are suffering from being woken up very early in the morning and being kept awake and woken again at night. The loud aircraft has made me fearful.”

“We moved to Ōhāriu Valley to enjoy a quiet, rural lifestyle - it used to be very peaceful here. We built a new home and enjoyed spending time in the garden and watching the birds (Tūī and Kerurū). Now, the airplanes blast above and it has become the new normal, and even though our house is double glazed we still hear the planes very loudly inside.

“We are feeling sleep deprived as parents and so are the children. If this continues, people won’t want to continue living in this part of Wellington.”

Carl's Story

“I find it crazy that the airport were able to undertake this change without any consultation with the residents, community groups and iwi, and without sufficient data to understand the full impact on the community and environment. Meaningful community engagement is legally required by central and local government, so I can't understand why the Airport/Airways are allowed to make this change without any community consultation. How are these organisations being held accountable?

“The constant flights over house are extremely noisy, which keep me awake at night. They wake me, my wife and kids up each morning at 6am. The daytime flights also wake up my 2-year-old when she's napping. The inability to have a good night’s sleep is impacting my mental and physical health. I can't escape the noise, and only having a break for between midnight and 6am is not sufficient sleep. Even in the daytime it’s difficult to work from home with the airplanes flying over every few mins. My mental health issues have returned and I've had to go back on medication to control my anxiety and depression.”

“I don't agree with the change, and I’ve been emailing the Airport and Airways to complain, to request that they revert back to the old flight path.

“My family moved to the northern suburbs as they are quiet – perfect for raising a young family. I used to love my house, it was so quiet and peaceful. Then after being away throughout December, that all changed. I noticed immediately, at the beginning of this year.

If the flight path isn’t changed back, I’ll probably have a mental breakdown and I'll be forced to leave my home and the suburb I used to love.”

Simone's Story

“We deliberately bought our home in quite peaceful surrounds, far from the airport, motorway, and city bustle. This was critical due to me being a lifelong light sleeper and having sound sensitivity from chronic migraine. This, combined with working long hours in a high intensity job in our pressurised health system, it was essential to live somewhere where I could rest whilst at home.

“Of greatest concern to my family is that the almost incessant engine roar is regularly disrupting our sleep and affecting our mental and physical health. It is also impacting my work as a doctor, and I am used to operating at a high level under sleep deprived conditions. The difference is that even the health system provides us scheduled days off to rest. With the new flightpath noise, we get no respite.”

“We moved to Ngaio for the quiet surroundings and the peaceful native bush. We are part of a collection of suburbs that offers a safe environment, with a thoughtful community, with some distance from natural and man-made hazards.

“We first noticed the plane noise was disrupting our sleep during summer. We feel it has been getting steadily worse as aircraft traffic has been increasing, as has the cumulative fatigue from it all. We have no chance for respite unless we can go away from home for a break. The last flight of the day is sometimes just before 1am and then the inescapable 6am succession of engines in our bedrooms leaves less than a minimum 6 hours to sleep, contravening our human right to rest and shelter.

“I have written an email of complaint and I have taken advice from the Plane Sense website and copyied in the organisations responsible, otherwise I was originally just going to send it to Wellington City Council and our MP.

“The noise intrusion through the late and early hours of the day and imposed sleep deprivation is unsustainable. The knock-on effects are serious to the extent that we will have to leave the area if this is not rapidly addressed.”

Esme's Story

“We are young professionals who went through a lengthy and demoralising process to buy our first home in Ngaio for a small fortune. We had under one year of living here in blissful quiet before the flightpath changed. Now our sleep is disrupted and working from home is less tenable with all the micro-distractions throughout the day. I can barely bring myself to think about the decrease in value to our property, let alone all our neighbours as well. We are very careful with money and buying our house was the culmination of months of research and large spreadsheets, but we've been defeated by an unnotified regulatory change. Despite the very clear public interest in a decision to change the flight path, it is astonishing that consultation was deemed unnecessary.

If the flight path doesn’t change, our mental and physical wellbeing, as well as our overall financial position, will be diminished.

“Our choice to buy a house in Ngaio was very deliberate. We liked the scenic/landscape values, amenity value and the tranquillity. Apart from the occasional passing vehicle, our street is (was) blissfully silent. The chattering tūīs were the loudest noise.

“We noticed a material increase in overhead aircraft and noise disruption from early January 2023. I then began asking my neighbours if they had also noticed an increase in aircraft, to ascertain what was going on. Since then, I have been engaged in the community group opposing the change. I have written to the Airport, Airways, local councillors and our MP, expressing my concern.”

Jade's Story

“When we moved to the northern suburbs, my husband specifically checked the position of the flight path to ensure that it wouldn't pass directly overhead. My main concern about the change is its impact on the members of my family. They are already poor sleepers, having a flight path overhead makes their ability to get to sleep and stay asleep even worse. They can go for multiple nights in a row now having an awful sleep, then when sleep finally arrives it's disrupted again at 6am when the first flight thunders over the house.

“I am dumbfounded and angry that the Airport/Airways/Council was arrogant enough to think it was ok to go ahead with making changes without consulting the community first. It sounds like they relied on computer generated data and drew their own conclusions, without bothering to ask the people who would be impacted what they thought. It shows zero respect for others. This is staggering considering recent WHO reports say that air pollution and noise pollution are the no 1 and 2 factors that impact mental health and wellbeing.”

“I moved to the northern suburbs because it's safe and peaceful, with close proximity to bush walks and parks, a local village and easy access to wider areas. I love the view across the harbour and listening to the birds singing.

“Having a flight path overhead takes away from the sense of peace and enjoyment of being outside. It's also disruptive, in that planes can be heard all through the day, starting from 6am every morning. They're at a noise level that you can't ignore. Especially on a windless day - the sound of the wind is now replaced by the sound of airplanes.

“I noticed the change late last year. I assumed I'd missed some kind of consultation or community notice about the change to the flight path. At first I thought it was a one-off and then it was clear that this wasn't the case.

“In addition to the general increase in noise and disruption, I am also now conditioned to waking up well before 6am. When I hear the flights I know for sure that I'm not the only one who's heard it and it makes me anxious for others. It's well documented that poor sleep has a huge impact on mental health, and it's the number one reason why we're so militant about sleep in our house. Because we've experienced what poor mental health looks like. Sleep is a major part of our daily well-being strategy.

“It makes me angry that so little care and attention were paid to the impact on people. The organisations involved must reinstate the across-harbour flight path, or at least come up with something better and CONSULT WITH THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY IMPACTED. If they don’t, it will continue to disrupt the sleep and lifestyle of those in our house and community. Without a change, I will have an extremely poor opinion about the parties involved. The management of the change is deeply incompetent and disrespectful.”

Simon's Story

"I’m outraged. If we knew this was going to happen, we would never have bought our house here. I am not sure how we will be able to carry on without proper rest. Lack of sleep is a real problem. We cannot get enough sleep in a night. I am not functioning at work because I haven’t slept a full night this whole year. We will not be able to sell our house and move at this stage.”

“We chose to live in the northern suburbs as it was extremally peaceful and filled with birdlife. Since the change we have noticed a decrease in native birdlife, we have observed a specific bird family over the time we have lived here but since the increased noise we no longer see them.

“We noticed the change early this year and have just recently found the community group Plane Sense. The change is impacting our mental health and exacerbating existing health conditions. It is impacting on our ability to work from our home and even continue conversations when a flight goes over.  Most nights we cannot even hear our TV.“

Sione and Sue's Story

“I am not normally a person who protests but I am so frustrated, disappointed, annoyed, and frankly stunned at the lack of consultation and care for my community. I can’t not stand up and say something because that lack of care is having an impact on people and my community.

I am so sick of the noise. It is tiring, it wakes me up early in the morning (often with a trifecta of flights right after 6am) and then again late at night when I am trying to get to sleep. I love our suburbs, the tranquillity, the bush, the birdlife, but now I feel like I’m living on an aircraft conveyer belt! Personally, this situation is causing me stress and lack of sleep.

Emails back to me from the organisations involved say that some suburbs ‘may experience’ increased noise levels.  They must now concede that the ‘may experience should be replaced with ‘most certainly are experiencing’.”

“The ongoing noise is extremely disruptive, and there should have been proper consultation with impacted residents before implementing any changes. My household is impacted by the significant increase in flights over our suburb and often right over our house. This continual noise pollution is causing lack of sleep and disturbance to our daily lives.

“Today I have been at home most of the day, as it is my day off, and the noise from planes has been constant - from first thing this morning and throughout the day. It’s been a colder day, so I have my doors and windows closed, but despite this and also despite the double glazing the noise has gone on and on. On sunnier days when I have been outside to enjoy some sun and fresh air, the noise became so upsetting, it is just so frequent! Flight numbers will only increase as flights in and out of Wellington Airport increase and I understand there is no limit on flight numbers. Therefore, the problem and negative impact on the quality of life of the residents in the impacted suburbs will only get worse over time.

“I have also seen large planes (sorry I’m not a plane spotter!!) fly right over Rāroa Intermediate and Onslow College, that is not acceptable! As if our tamariki haven’t had enough disruption with their learning, they (approximately 2000 students) now must contend with their learning being impacted by being under a flight path!

“I am pleased that representatives of the organisations involved attended the community meeting, along with local and political representatives of the area. I am pleased that the issue has been heard at Parliament too and that additional sound monitors will be installed in the area. There is now a great opportunity for all parties to sort this out and return our suburbs to the peaceful place they were before the flight paths were changed (without care or consultation)! I urge Wellington Airport to take immediate steps to address this problem, to take this matter seriously and act swiftly.”

Nicole's Story

“I grew up in Johnsonville and Khandallah, looking out at Mt Kaukau, ‘Tarikaka’. It is my Maunga. It is my Tūrangawaewae. Mt Kaukau, ‘Tarikaka’ is where I feel I belong, my home. It is calm and green. Dense regenerating bush with lots of birds and hiking.  It's both wild and peaceful.

"Until this noise began, that is!

“I am now seriously feeling that if I don't get some relief from this new noise-assault, I will be forced to leave.”

“I came back to New Zealand and settled with my family directly under Mt Kaukau, ‘Tarikaka’. The older I get the more I understand why I came back to this spot. But now, after the flight path change, I feel under assault.  There is no peace, either inside or outside.

“Under assault from 6.05am.

“Under assault all through the day.

“Under assault until late into the evening.

“There is no relief from the decibels and noise.

“This is the first time I have had thoughts of leaving – or, actually, of being forced out of my home.

“Forced from my Maunga.

“Forced from my Tūrangawaewae. 

“Forced from where we have chosen to raise our tamariki in our community.

“I need some relief from this noise-assault.”

Leah's Story

"My anxiety will only increase if the flight path is not changed because not only will I feel unsettled from the noise, but when sleep is so disturbed it sets the body into immediate fight or flight mode (no pun intended!). The other day I thought we were about to have an earthquake... but nope just another jet flying over! Being on constant alert like that is not healthy.  It's Airport harassment. I just don't understand how they can possibly do this - disrupt so many lives, just so they can save a few bucks."

"We moved to NZ 10 years ago from the USA and were very lucky to find the house we are in now. We absolutely love the view and close proximity to Mount Kaukau and appreciate our neighbours, who are all quiet and respectful. 

"We previously were able to enjoy a plethora of bird life in our neighbourhood. From Eastern Rosellas, to a Kārearea on our deck, a Morepork, several tūī and piwakawaka. We felt like we hit the jackpot! Now we are lucky if we see a blackbird. The bird traffic has completely declined. We were able to sit out on deck and have conversations. Getting kids to sleep in was relatively easy, knowing they were getting their full night's sleep. 

"We recognised it straightaway in December 2022. My parents were visiting from the USA and commented on it. We thought at first, we were noticing it only because they resumed after the covid restrictions were lifted. We also thought that it was Christmas time so perhaps that increased the traffic had made the flight path go directly over us. But it didn't let up. It was consistent with 6am starts and 11pm finishes (if we were lucky). We had to turn the Christmas movies up loud so we could hear them over the planes taking off. As time went on, after the holidays it just continued and we tried really hard to ignore it but that jet noise gets implanted in your brain. 

"I made a noise complaint to the Airport. Then another. I would receive thorough responses about why the changes were made usually in reference to sustainability. I really didn't feel like I had much fight in me to go up against the Airport. So, I threw my hands up. Then I found Plane Sense and I felt relieved to know other people were struggling with this too. 

"I am tired. I no longer have to set an alarm because I'm woken up every day at 6am. Then another. And another. If I am working from home and I am on Zoom, I have to mute myself so that the whole meeting doesn't get disturbed. If I am talking then I have to apologise to everyone for the noise. Inside our home we have to pause our conversations while the planes go by. We laughed at first, then were annoyed, and now we are angry. At bedtime, when we try to get the kids to sleep, I pray “That's the last one", so that it goes away quickly. When I'm finally falling asleep myself, I get woken up again at 11:42pm and struggle to get back to sleep because I'm a light sleeper.

"Not sleeping well means I am foggy at work and less productive. I'm worried about the air quality with the jet stream going directly over my house. I'm worried about my hearing. Engineers who work on planes wear protective headgear for a reason! Staff out on a tarmac wear ear plugs for a reason! They will damage your hearing. I miss the simple pleasure of seeing birds in my garden. I have a hard job and my home is supposed to be my sanctuary. Now I get stressed out trying to settle into the comforts of my home. Sometimes I wonder if the plane is going to crash right into my house - I mean, it sounds ridiculous I know, but when it's all you hear multiple times a day on a regular basis your mind starts to go there. 

"I am concerned the value of our home will decrease as well, because we are literally right under a flight path. If we were ever to show our home to buyers, they would immediately notice that and be like "Yeah, nah". I never imagined leaving our house because it is our dream home. If things don't change we will have to seriously consider moving and having to uproot my family is just not something I ever thought I'd do again."

Christina's Story

“I noticed the change immediately. But like many of my neighbours and community, it turns out, I was wondering on my own for a while. Until we all started talking and connecting the dots, and then contacted the Airport to find out what was happening. To be perfectly honest, I’m pissed off. How dare this be allowed to happen, to have a change this significant thrust upon a community with zero consultation or consideration! The flights are invasive, they invade your space and make you feel contained inside."

"I chose to live in one of Wellington’s quieter suburbs, high up on the hill to spend a great deal of time outside. We decided to settle here because it’s an area of Wellington that suits our family’s love of the outdoors. It’s a place where we can spend time in the garden and have green space for chooks. My children are often out in all weathers playing with their school friends and the neighbour’s children, with the family dog too. It’s a quiet place and we have a great community around us. We have friends over for BBQs and connect with the neighbours outside on our small street for special occasions, like Halloween. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of money on our garden, building decks and growing vegetables, it’s where I like to be. Well, it was.

“The flights are so loud, they wake my children and I up an hour earlier every day – weekday, weekend, public holidays. My ten-year-old daughter heads off to school every day having been loudly woken an hour earlier than she’d usually wake, tired and having to begin her day in that way. The flights are so loud it sounds like they are on the roof! I wake up as the first plane flies overhead each morning and there’s no getting back to sleep after that.

“If the flights don’t go back to the over-water path? Well, they just have to! It’s just so far from ‘reasonable’ it’s not funny.”

Catherine's Story

"The flight path change and the increased aircraft noise is decreasing our quality of life.  It is affecting our well-being and will increase our need for medical care. The organisations need to consider that students need a quiet environment to study. The constant interruption during their learning, it reduces their interest, concentration and affects their emotional well-being.  

 

"My children have told me that the school situation is as bad as at home. Their teachers have to pause lessons until the noise subsides. During PE and when outside, children are covering their ears with their hands. This impacts our children at after-school-care, tutoring centres, in their music teacher's home, supermarkets, playgrounds. Everywhere is filled with AIRCRAFT noise."

"Broadmeadows was a peaceful, natural place. I loved to wake to bird song from the Reserve. l enjoyed playing outside with my children, in my garden. I don't like Aircraft noises, so our family purposefully chose a home in the northern suburbs.

 

"One morning in March at 6am, after our family had returned from being away, I woke suddenly to a sound like an explosion over my roof and this continued every few minutes. I was really scared. I now feel too anxious to go outside in my garden. The noise causes my ears and head to ache.  Some jet planes that fly over sound like they are crashing into the hills. Mount Kaukau seems to reflect the noise. Every day I am now forced to wake up at 6am.  It is affecting my mental well-being.

 

"My senior neighbour is also suffering, he is losing sleep and is feeling too exhausted to look after his sick mother and partner.

 

"I feel very disappointed that Wellington City Council hasn’t protected our quality of life. Airways and Wellington Airport did not consult the residents under the flight path - our human rights have been oppressed and we are being exploited. If the flight path isn't changed back, it will show that our sky is manipulated by Airways."

Graham's Story

“Before noticing the increased aircraft noise in December 2022, I enjoyed the fact that living in a cul de sac enabled me to open my home up to the outdoors on fine days. I could enjoy the beautiful nature around me, including the birdsong.

 

“If this situation isn’t changed by the organisations involved, our sleep will continually be disrupted and our lives will continually be filled with untold noise, each time a flight departs from the Airport.”

“After living on the fringe of the city for a long time, I decided it was time to move a little further out. I moved to the northern suburbs to enjoy the peaceful surrounds, whilst still being able to access Kāpiti and local shopping options easily. 

 

“Upon noticing low and loud aircraft noise early into the change, I filed a complaint with Wellington Airport and connected with the community via Plane Sense. I have written to councillors, MPs, Wellington Airport and the Civil Aviation Authority.

 

“I now check the weather forecast for the 6am-7am time period and if it is forecast to be a Northerly, I ensure to put earplugs in before I go to bed the night before. Despite this and sleeping on the lower floor of my home, my sleep is still broken on these mornings.”

Nina's Story

“I feel genuine anger and frustration, that we are up against large corporations who, when you contact them to explain the very personal impact their decision has had, seem to send a stock standard response. I have since found Plane Sense (thank you), and I want this problem to be responded to fairly and humanely. This has to change; we need the flight path to go back over the water where it minimises disturbance. This issue is ruining the lives of real people and we believe it’s having an impact on native wildlife."

"I settled in the area to enjoy the peaceful setting of the suburbs at the foothill of Mount Kaukau. It's a family area, populated with local schools, has close proximity to natural bush and a strong sense of community, it's a place where residents are used to showing consideration to one another.

“We loved our tranquil area; it was a peaceful area to recharge and switch off from hectic lives and raise our young children away from the hustle and bustle. Our area has a strong sense of community and being connected, with kids being outside and interacting all the time. We loved the ability to be able to get out into tranquil bushland and be surrounded by native wildlife.”

"Like other families in the area, towards the end of 2022 I noticed that the noise levels were changing for the worse. Jet engines were flying with increased regularity over my home and neighbourhood, including the many local primary, intermediate and high schools. It seemed to get worse week on week.

“This change is disturbing our sleep which is starting to have a real impact on our family’s wellbeing. My children are being woken far too early in the morning. We can’t hold conversations when the planes go overhead - I can’t hear my children. We are constantly feeling tense, there is seemingly no down-time as the flights are relentless, the TV, music, podcasts, any chance of relaxing is drowned out by plane noise.

“We have just invested money in our home, for our family to enjoy the fresh air in our garden, which we wouldn’t have done if we knew life was about to become unbearably loud. So much so that it’s impossible now to work from home now on days where I have meetings as I can’t hear when the planes go over, making it harder to maintain the work-life balance we had found for our family. We have also noticed a decrease in our family’s health with increased complaints of headaches when we’ve never suffered from them before.”

"The enjoyment of local bushwalks has gone, the walks around the Reserve are no longer tranquil and I have noticed a decrease in native birdlife locally. There is less opportunity for downtime or peaceful exercise and my family is experiencing increased stress."


Nina* is one of many residents in a tight-knit community that would contemplate selling her home to escape the noise. Something that she says would be a huge disruption to her life, “In saying that I am increasingly worried about house values with this change and our ability to move in that case”.

Adrian's Story

“We moved to the northern suburbs for a peaceful life, it’s a family-orientated area that has close connections to nature. There are so many things to enjoy close by, particularly getting outside – to sports’ fields, the Skyline track and Ōhāriu Valley.

“I used to enjoy relaxing outdoors, doing early morning yoga in peace, enjoy the birds in the garden and in the evening I would relax in our spa pool whilst taking in the night sky. This is all ruined now. The last two weeks I have been at Nairnville and Alex Moore Park watching football, I've had to pause conversations while planes roar overhead. It’s ruined the peaceful environment I moved into 13 years ago and, it ruins exercising on the Skyline track. Having large planes flying so close over highly populated areas is causing me anxiety.”

“I noticed the change soon after Christmas 2022. It used to be the case that on the odd occasion, with a southerly wind, we would have a small number of flights turning tightly over our house when lining up to land. But now we have all flights in the predominate northerly wind roaring across our suburb. I initially thought it was a short term or emergency thing, obviously it is not.

“If the over-water flight path isn’t reinstated, I would estimate that the value of my property would decrease, and I would expect my rates to reflect that. I would need to move, as I just couldn't stand living in this kind of environment. I feel sad that living here has been ruined.”

Amelia's Story

“We have lived in Broadmeadows for 5 decades and chose our property for the semi-rural setting and peaceful environment at the time. We love our bush outlook and the joy of experiencing what was ever increasing birdlife.

We are now subjected to broken sleep, particularly from being woken by the heavy rumbling noise and the house shaking, most mornings from usually around 6.05-6.12am and then ongoing throughout the day.

We are at the highest altitude affected here, we are now subjected to broken sleep and the noise of flights directly overhead. We would like to know if there was any serious noise monitoring done at the top of Broadmeadows prior to making the changes to the flight path.”

“We were away for most of the summer - until the end of January. So, we realised the flight path had changed at the beginning of February 2023.

As we sit in our home, we have noticed the increase in the number of flights due to the change in the flight patterns. Previously we used to see them flying over Wellington Harbour as we drove out of Broadmeadows. I now have the Flight Radar app and monitor the frequency and direction of flights over the northern suburbs. We live up near the top of Broadmeadows and they now go over our house, even as I write.

We have noticed an enormous decrease in bird life this year. As bird lovers, prior to January/February this year, we were privileged and delighted to be inundated with Tūi, Kākā, Kārearea, Kererū etc but those numbers appear to have reduced dramatically compared to previous years. And we monitor birds most days.”

Lisa and James' Story

“In December 2022, we noticed a significant increase in air traffic over our property which was very noisy and intrusive. We can’t hear ourselves talk or talk on the phone when there is a jet flying over and flights run from 6.00am to 1.00am.  We thought it was a temporary thing, as we’d received no notice of any impending change, so we carried on our busy Christmas period. Then in January 2023, realising that something must have changed with no notification or consultation, we decided to email the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to lodge a complaint about the noise of aircraft flying over our property. It was then that we discovered there had been a permanent change and CAA redirected us to Airways and Wellington Airport with our complaint. "

“We have lived in Ōhāriu Valley for 30 years. It is a peaceful rural haven with working farms and lifestyle blocks. Many properties, including us, are deeply committed to restoring wetlands to enhance and extend the bush corridor from Zealandia for native birds. 

 

“We chose to live in Ōhāriu Valley because we sought peace from the noise of the suburbs and the city and wanted wide open with clean spaces around us. We also wanted to farm and garden organically and regenerate native bush.

 

“Through the joint efforts of a close community, native fauna is increasing rapidly and bush is regenerating. It is quiet and calm for birds and animals and visitors seeking a rural experience (eg cyclists, horse riders, etc). Wellington City Council and Wellington Regional Council recognise Ōhāriu Valley as an area of significance and afford it particular protections, to retain its unique environmental values. Yes, we are remarkably close to Wellington and get a little noise and light pollution, but Mount Kaukau and surrounding hills are a natural barrier to most of these.
 

“Airways and Wellington Airport responded to our complaint. Airways repeated what was on their website, with no acknowledgment of any our issues and Wellington Airport acknowledged our email and reassured us that there was no noise difference and that we’d adjust to the frequency!! They told us they would review our complaint at their next Air Noise Committee (which they have to) and would give us feedback. We never heard back. When we approached them for an update, they referred us to Plane Sense as an alternative option to continue engaging with them. 

 

“We have found the flight path change unbearable and very intrusive. We are often woken by the 6.00-7.00am flights and, being at home all day, we experience frequent flyovers during the day and into the night. Some cause the house to vibrate. We now look forward to a cold southerly as we know the flights won’t be overhead! 

 

“We’ve also noticed a significant reduction in bird life on our property. Since the flight path change, we have had 2-3 Tūī in the garden in total over 6 months. We used to have 5-6 around the house every day. No Kererū at all for 6 months, when we used to have 2-3 a week. Korimako have all but disappeared and we don’t hear Rūrū calling at night any more. This is tragic and incredibly upsetting given the effort we are making to regenerate wetlands and bush in the valley. It would seem it’s not just the humans who are affected by the noise and visual pollution of these aircraft. 

 

“Basically, our lifestyle is severely affected. It’s now a noisy environment. Not peaceful anymore. We don’t want to be outside when a jet flies overhead due to the noise and we’re worried about eating and breathing whatever is now dropping down on us from the engine exhaust. Organically growing our food now seems to be under a threat we can’t mitigate. 

“The impact on our lives is immense and stressful. We have spent 30 years building and implementing our vision for our property and we are not prepared to give it up for this ill-thought-out decision and subsequent daily intrusion by Airways and Wellington Airport, so we will fight for our peace and quiet to be restored. 

 

“There is also no doubt in our minds that this flight path change has instantly lowered the value of our property. People who seek to live rurally are highly influenced by factors like flight paths, pollution, noise etc. it will be the same for the other affected suburbs. This is untenable. Plain and simple the community impact of this change has not been researched appropriately and factored into this decision as a priority. The lack of consultation is appalling, as is the attitude that you’ll get used to it! 

 

“Do the right thing Airways and Wellington Airport and reverse this decision.” 

Margaret's Story

"The flight path change has honestly been an absolute disaster for me. I treasure the calm and serene atmosphere here, beyond what I can describe. We have worked our whole adult lives to enable us to live in our home and the increased noise from the planes is profoundly affecting our enjoyment of our surroundings."

"My home and neighbourhood used to be a quiet and have a serene atmosphere, I’m in a secluded area with many birds and sheltered from the wind. The concept of a sanctuary is what drew us to our home of 33 years. It is safe for small children, as we are far from the road up a drive, and wonderfully secluded. Our home is surrounded by beautiful trees and there are many birds, which we enjoy watching and caring for by trapping rats and providing clean birdbath water and syrup to drink in deepest winter. We maintain the treescape and we have planted many more native plants. We care for our local environment. 

"Early in February, on return from break away we noticed the change. I practice Pilates on a small deck outside in summer, and it was a shock to see and hear so many planes over that hour each day. I am appalled by it. I talked with my husband, who had also noticed it also, and then found out the flight paths had been changed. We thought we would be unable to influence any change back to normality, so tried to make allowances for the noise pollution. We decided we'd have to tolerate it, but I was deeply unhappy about it. 

"If the flight path wasn’t to change back to it’s original course, I would be enraged at the dictatorial nature of it. The lack of respect shown to Wellington citizens, and the complete disregard shown for our welfare, is intolerable."

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