A collection of primeval rugged jungle clad islands that looks good on postcards but can, and will turn around and kill you without warning. Even the most experienced are not immune.
I’m one of those people who regularly break the cardinal rule of going into the bush. Never go alone. I’ve been doing it for years, decades in fact. Same as my grandfather and great uncles and their fathers. It’s the sort of nature that brought us to these islands a long time ago. None of us ever died in the bush but all of us had close calls. We were always careful, well equipped and did everything right. But every now and then something happens and you’re in a situation you might not get out of. In New Zealand that frequently means water and lots of it.
Sadly it took the lives of seven young people yesterday. The scale of this tragedy is something almost impossible to grasp let along deal with for most. For those it is impacting on it is gratifying to see so many of you given strength by your faith. The one that it’s ok to ridicule and belittle so often here.
It is both humbling and comforting to see a man who is in danger himself risk and lose his life attempting to save someone else.
It is absolutely appalling to see the media start a witch hunt for someone to blame before the bodies are even recovered.
Several years ago five soldiers and one sailor died on the top of Mt Ruapehu. Two men performed a feat of human endeavour unparalleled in coming down the mountain at night in a snow storm to raise the alarm. Those of us in my unit arrived at the point that the weather beat them and we didn’t second guess anyone that was there. I’m taking that same position again.
It could just have easily been me.