Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Take care before leaving home

By Don Farmer

[email protected]

Long weekends traditionally mean more business for emergency services and Labour Weekend was no exception.

Of the known incidents in our region we had a couple of fairly serious road crashes, a rescue of three trampers in the Tararua Ranges, a house gutted by fire, and a boat stranded off the South Wairarapa coast.

Some of those happenings could probably be attributed, more or less directly, to people taking advantage of getting out-and-about with an extra day off up their sleeve.

The house fire of course could not.

Whatever the reasons why, the bottom line is we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those who give up their time to bail out those in trouble.

Of course some are paid to do so, others are volunteers, and still others just happen to be around to lend a hand.

There will always be people who get into difficulties and need help, but those charged with offering that help would likely agree things would be a lot less likely to turn sour if greater planning was done before launching out on recreational activities.

For example, the Wellington woman and her two young sons who spent a long, cold night in the ranges before being rescued by helicopter apparently did some things right, but not others.

The mother had an emergency locator beacon and enough equipment for the intended four-day tramp, but had she taken a serious look at the weather forecast?

The Tararua Ranges are notorious for rapid weather changes and at this time of the year, with squally spring rains and seasonal gales, trampers are especially vulnerable.

That the trio ended up fighting a strong northwesterly and were drenched by torrential rain would tend to suggest a tramp of that magnitude and with a party that included a 10- and a 12-year-old would have best been postponed until the weather was much more predictable.

But, it is said all’s well that ends well, so in that regard the party were lucky.

And it is a fair bet they will learn from the experience and hopefully will not be put off enjoying the outdoors.

The ranges are magic on a beautifully fine day, and a hell of near-horizontal rain on a bad one.


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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