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Hunter was a quiet achiever

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

The hunter who died in Tora Bush in South Wairarapa on Saturday was Carterton man Trevor Burke, a search and rescue volunteer known for his quiet nature.

Mr Burke’s body was located on Monday morning, by Land Search and Rescue, in the Department of Conservation reserve.

The 60-year-old had set out on a solo hunting trip on Saturday and was scheduled to emerge on Sunday at noon, but failed to show.

Police say the death was not suspicious and suspect it was caused by a medical event.

Wairarapa branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) president Martin Amos said Mr Burke had been “a very experienced hunter”.

Mr Burke had been a member of the club for over a decade and was a team leader in the association’s involvement with search and rescue missions, both Wairarapa-wide and in Wellington when required.

“He was a very well-liked guy and he will certainly be missed,” Mr Amos said.

“He was very kind natured, and never really said a bad word about anybody, that I heard.

“He was a team player.”

Mr Burke had been an “active member of the club”, who contributed a lot of time and effort into working bees and maintenance at the branch’s base, Parkvale Hall, east of Carterton.

Mr Amos remembered an incident, about seven years ago, when his son went on a hunting trip with Mr Burke.

“They got lost in the Haurangis, but with Trevor’s knowledge of the area they managed to fathom their way out.”

Mr Amos said Mr Burke was “very fit for his age” and his extensive skillset would be missed by the club.

Two civillian Search and Rescue team members await transporting out of the search area by pilot Jason Diederich of Amalgamated Helicopters.
Two civillian Search and Rescue team members await transporting out of the search area by pilot Jason Diederich of Amalgamated Helicopters.

Search and Rescue incident controller Peter Cunningham is a long-term NZDA member and friend of Mr Burke.

“He was one of the nicest, quietist guys you could ever meet.”

Mr Cunningham, a senior constable, said Mr Burke was “well-respected” and a man of few words but “whenever he spoke, everyone listened”.

Mr Cunningham remembers a NZDA branch trip to Stewart Island, which was organised by Mr Burke.

The pair had been in charge of getting all the gear from Wairarapa to Bluff and back again, and spent the driving time getting to know each other.

“It was a really good trip, well organised. There were no problems pretty much down to his planning.

“Whenever he put his mind to something and planned something it pretty much went perfect.

“That’s the sort of guy he was.

“He was very meticulous and didn’t speak much but when he did his words spoke volumes.”

Chairman of Wairarapa Search and Rescue Murray Johnston said Mr Burke always made himself available for missions.

“He’s been a really good volunteer, one of those ones who quietly got on with it.”

A funeral for Mr Burke will be held in the Parkvale Deerstalkers Hall at 11am on Friday.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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