Two trampers caught by rough weather in Tararuas Rangers found 'tired and exhausted'

Two trampers in difficulty in rough weather in the Tararua Ranges north of Wellington were found cold tired and exhausted by searchers and a rescue dog in the early hours of this morning after activating a personal locator beacon.

Police say the well-prepared pair went into the ranges on Saturday night and got into difficulty due to adverse weather conditions some time later, but they had a personal locator beacon and activated it while seeking shelter. 

Due to the weather conditions, their general location was identified only, not an exact location, said Sergeant Fiona Read of Police Search and Rescue.

An Air Force helicopter crew managed severe turbulence and low cloud to transport three police-led Search and Rescue teams into the search area at about 9pm last night. 

They located the emergency beacon activated by the trampers, helping rescuers to find them at 1.30am this morning, Sergeant Read said in a statement this afternoon.  

"They were located cold tired and exhausted by SAR staff and a rescue dog," she said.

This morning the men were taken to a nearby Department of Conservation Hut, Dundas Hut, where further assistance has been given to them, such as food and dry clothing. 

"They have been assessed medically and they appear to be in good condition," Sergeant Read said.

"Another assessment was made during the night on their physical condition and the forecasted weather, and as a result, the plan is to use further assistance from the NZDF squadron to airlift them from the ranges, however the weather has not been ideal and this is yet to happen," she said. 

The plan is for the team and the trampers to be taken off the mountain when the weather clears at a later date, Sergeant Read said.

Tramping in New Zealand
Tramping in New Zealand Source: istock.com


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Kererū Count takes off with people urged to document every sighting over the next 10 days

The Great Kererū Count is taking flight again, with people being urged to document every member of the species they see over the next ten days.

The eight-year-long study is a joint venture between The Kererū Discovery Trust, Victoria University of Wellington, WWF-New Zealand and Wellington City Council.

It aims to help scientists understand how conservation activities like trapping, restoration, and aerial 1080 drops are helping Kererū numbers increase.

A spokesperson for the The Kererū Discovery Trust, Tony Stoddard, said last year New Zealanders counted more than 15,000 Kererū.

"Ideally what we'd like to see is that number stay stabilised or increase if possible, and this is the reason why we have to do the Great Kererū Count over such a large number of years...so we can actually get some robust data out of it," he said.

"What happens over probably the seven-year to eight-year period, Victoria University will go through that data and they'll analyse this for us and they'll be able to tell national trends on where Kererū have been populating areas or where their populations have decreased over time."

The Great Kererū Count is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, he said.

"It's the only centralised data collection monitoring the trends of the Kererū across New Zealand."

While the birds aren't classed as 'threatened' by the Department of Conservation, Kererū numbers have declined in the last 100 years.

However, unlike many of their counterparts, Kererū have adapted well to New Zealand's increasingly urban environment, said Mr Stoddard.

"Most often you'll see them on powerlines early in the morning or foraging on trees and even in your own backyard," he said.

"They're really easy to spot- they're really large pigeon-like birds, with a white singlet....and they've got white bloomers as well, like furry pants."

By Katie Doyle

rnz.co.nz

Kereru. Source: 1 NEWS

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1080 drop to go ahead in the Hunua Ranges near Auckland despite legal intervention

A conservation group has failed in its legal bid to stop a 1080 drop in the Hunua Ranges near Auckland.

The Friends of Sherwood Trust won a temporary injunction in the Enivronment Court halting the major pest control programme two weeks ago.

It argued that the drop breached the Resource Management Act which prohibits the dropping of substances in beds of lakes and rivers.

However today the court refused the Trust's bid to further halt the drop.

"We are not persuaded that there is likely to be serious harm to the environment if the proposed application proceeds."

The judge said the information provided by the Council was comprehensive around the regulation, planning, delivery, and monitoring for the 1080 programme.

"The detail provided is sufficient to show that the discharge of the 1080 pellets is necessary, will not be indiscriminate, and has been carefully planned. It will be governed by the conditions applied to the permission by the Public Health Service to address this particular operation.

"The documents provided by the Council make it very clear there are risks to the use of 1080. We consider the methods proposed to manage those risks are appropriate and adopt the necessary precautions.

The court noted that the Council had followed up with initial landowner communications "with face-to-face meetings where requested, phone calls, project updates by email, the provision of fact sheets specific to adjoining properties, and maps showing the proposed operational area.

"Muzzles and emetics for dogs have been offered to dog owners, with staff made available to deliver and assist in fitting these where requested."

"As well, a precautionary setback of 200 metres has also been applied to all residential dwellings (greater than 150m set out in the Assessing Applications for VTA Guidelines by the Ministry of Health).

Water would be supplied to two properties at their request and water extraction points would be "excluded from the treatment area whether requested by the landowner or not. "

Two of Watercare's reservoirs would be taken offline during the first drop and be returned to service after water testing was completed, before that was repeated with

The council said 108 properties had been spoken to who adjoined the land involved in the operation and 1529 ratable properties within 3 kilometres of the area had all been sent information about it.

"We are satisfied that there has been an extensive consultation programme undertaken by the Council and DOC to engage with those people who have the potential to be adversely affected by the proposed operation.

"We acknowledge that the very nature of 1080 means that there needs to be absolute compliance with the conditions, and this is what the Council have assured us will occur. The Public Health Service and Watercare will be monitoring and overseeing compliance with their requirements."

The Auckland Council has welcomed the decision and said it would be resuming the drop soon, whether permitting.

"We are at a critical point in terms of, this is the optimum time generally around New Zealand to undertake these types of pest management operations; just before main breeding of the bird species that we're seeking to protect and also in terms of plants and trees fruiting," Mace Ward, the general manager of parks, sport and recreation, said.

"So our focus now is on the weather."

He said they couldn't get started straight away as they needed to give the local community 24 hours notice.

"We hope that the parties that made objection to the operation respect the court's decision," he said.

Sue Grey, the lawyer for The Friends of Sherwood Trust said they would be assessing their options.

"Look my clients are extremely disappointed of course because people are very, very concerned about toxic substances being deliberately put in the drinking water catchments and looking at options of where to go from here.

"There's obviously the possibility of appealing this decision and trying to extend the injunction. We've got people looking at that as we speak.

She said she did not think the Council would comply with the conditions.

"The court has assumed all the rules and legal protections will be followed. The community is concerned from past practice that they will not."

The judge kept the injunction in place until 5pm to give parties time to consider the judgement.

rnz.co.nz

Source: rnz.co.nz

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Blast safety door takes shape in Greymouth workshop as Pike River Mine re-entry looms

A Greymouth business which has a long history with Pike River Mine is responsible for making a blast door, a major safety component for the planned re-entry of the mine.

The blast door has been designed in Australia and is being manufactured by Gray Brothers Engineering.

Eddie Gray of the company told 1 NEWS  that if something goes wrong the door will drop and seal straight away.

The door will be fitted 15 metres inside the mine and can be operated from outside. 

Dinghy Pattinson of the Pike River Recovery Agency explained the door would be used if the mine had to be made inert.

"So if there's a fire or anything in your mine you have to be able to close those doors and put nitrogen in," he said. 

But it's a race against time.

Mr Gray said they received drawings for plates for the door on Monday and had Christchurch firm Vulcan Plate work through the night for them to be on a truck on Tuesday morning.

"I did say it was for Pike re-entry and we wanted to get it done as fast as possible. So they went the extra mile."

There are 104 steel components that make up the door and Gray Brothers are hoping to have it finished by the end of the month.

Gray Brothers Engineering made many of the original components for the mine.

"We've done work at the mine from day one," Mr Gray said.

So this isn't just any job.

"I think it's in every West Coaster's heart to get closure for the families. It's pretty close to everyone on the Coast, we've all got friends and families that were involved in it," he said. 

And the Gray Brothers team say they'll feel proud when their door is installed in the mine next month.

A Greymouth business is responsible for making the vital component. Source: 1 NEWS


The South Auckland teacher inspiring his students to follow their musical passion

For students of Auckland's Manurewa High School, the impact and influence of music teacher Tim Randle has left a lasting impression on hundreds, if not thousands of pupils.

Having been a teacher at the school for 15 years, Mr Randle has inspired his students to follow their musical passions, with his most recent group, named Mit Eldnar - Tim Randle spelled backwards - competing in the final of both the Smokefree Tangata Beats and Smokefree Rockquest competitions.

"I'm so proud, I'm the gushing father or uncle, I think it's pretty obvious heart-on-sleeve stuff from me," Mr Randle told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Being at Manurewa High for so long, Mr Randle has seen a number of triumphs from his bands, although the long serving music teacher is quick to pass on any praise.

"I want to say lucky, but that's not the right word, we have wonderful kids. Ridiculous, phenomenal kids."

The feeling is certainly mutual.

"He's amazing, he doesn't get enough credit, so humble about helping all of us," student Makayla Eli says.

Mr Randle's influence has even rubbed off on his students, with Mit Eldnar frontman Sonatane Kaufusi deciding to follow in his teacher's footsteps.

However, Mr Randle says that everything he is, is all thanks to his students.

"If I am humble I probably get that off the kids." 

This weekend Tim Randle’s latest Manurewa High School group will compete at Tangata Beats and the Smokefreerockquest. Source: Seven Sharp