Newsletter, December 2007

Welcome to new members
Mike and Deidre Glover and family

UPCOMING CLUBNIGHT: (Put it in your diary!)

11 February 2008 Walking the Heaphy Track in 1887 .

Mark Graesser will recount the arduous journey of three young Nelsonians on what was probably the first "recreational" traverse of a route approximating today's Heaphy Track. His talk will be based on the diary of Frederick Gibbs, as well as other early records, and will include maps comparing the probable Gibbs route with today's Heaphy.

Nelson Intermediate School, Tipahi Street, 7.30 pm, gold coin admission. Mark Stevens Ph 5457564

3 December 2007. End of Year Clubnight and Photo Competition.

And the winners are: all those forty two members and guests who came along to enjoy the evening to wind up 2007 with food, liquid refreshments, conversation and general fellowship, while having the opportunity to view a great range of photos. We were delighted to again have as judge Don Pitham, whose witty asides and useful advice was entertainment in itself. However those selected for higher honours on the night were:

Peoples Choice     Gary Davies, Rainbow over Rotoiti


1    Ruth Hesselyn    Boulderscape, Paturaru Beach
2    Ruth Hesselyn    Under the ice cliffs, Mt Murchison, Arthurs Pass
3    Mark Graesser     View from Cullifords Hill (Mt Owen Plateau), looking west


1    Ruth Hesselyn    Trampers in Blue, Hodder River
2    David Blunt         Mike and Bob below Mt Ella
3    Ruth Hesselyn    Arrival at Relax Shelter, Robert Ridge


1    Mark Graesser     Haastia sinclairi  in flower, Mt Peel
2    David Blunt        Limestone formation in Blue Creek cave
3    Jo Kay               Rununculi, Gordons Pyramid


1    David Blunt        Ruth's new shorts
2    Tony Haddon     Not named
3    David Blunt        Poseurs at Island Gully Hut

The winning photos are now on the club website at


New GPS Beacon

We now have our first GPS Beacon, the GME Accusat MT410G, as specified overleaf. This is available primarily for club trips, with the harder graded trips having priority, and only for private trips if not required for Club trips. Collection point remains at Basecamp.

We will be increasing the number of these we hold so that before the current system is phased out we have sufficient for our needs. This is quite an investment for the NTC, at $750 each, in providing for the safety of

our Club members. In the unfortunate event that the PLB needs to be used instructions are clearly marked on the beacon, and these should be read and understood before departure.

GME Accusat MT410G Pocket Pro+
•  Fitted with NON-HAZMAT long life batteries

•  7 year battery life 7 year warranty

•  Typical accuracy MT410G:<45m

•  High visibility strobe light

•  Unique patented technology- no warm up period

•  Featherweight, compact and robust construction

•  Digital 406 MHz, 5 Watt transmission plus 121.5 MHz homing signal

•  COSPAS-SARSAT worldwide operation

•  National & International approvals

•  Sealed waterproof design (exceeds IP67)

•  Retention strap and fully buoyant design reduces risk of loss
Complete with protective carry pouch

From DoC:

Go to

Check out the Tangariro Taupo Summer Programme running from 31 December 2007 to 28 January 2008, and a range of other information, including the newly formed Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust .

Also worth checking is the section on publications where you can access the bi-annual “Revive Rotoiti” publication. Some points from the Spring 2007 issue include:
Introduced adult Kiwi (14) have been recaptured, transmitters changed and health checks carried out before re-release. All appear healthy, albeit with some weight loss attributed to redistribution of territories following the latest introduction in 2006.
New and improved rat and stoat traps are to be set out progressively over the next year.
A change in the toxin paste used should increase effectiveness while reducing persistence in animal tissue.
Wasps are likely to be seen/heard/felt! in even more numbers than last year due to the likely deferral (for the second year) of the wasp control operation caused by difficulty obtaining the preferred toxin.
Raukawa are continuing to recover with an increased foliar cover attributed to the possum control programme.

Operation Ark. 2004 – 2007 Review

This is a major project which involves the South Island beech forests. Offshore islands have been one of New Zealand 's conservation success stories but difficult to emulate on the mainland. Short of fencing off entire areas at great cost, pest eradication is all but impossible. A new approach was needed – multi-species intensive pest control at chosen sites. In this way a series of “mainland island” projects were developed. Operation Ark is a modification of the mainland island concept, with the big difference being cost. By doing the work when it's most needed, the cost of possum, rat and stoat control has been decreased to as little as $17 a hectare a year.
Whio are recovering along the 163km of river where trap lines are in place, from 16 to 49 birds in the last three years.
In 2004 there were 700 counts of short-tailed bats leaving roosts in the Eglinton Valley . In 2007, the figure was close to 1200. From 2004 to 2006 call counts of mohua during a five-minute period increased from 225 to 325, in the Landsborough Valley .
Orange-fronted kakariki numbers have remained stable with self-sustaining, back-stop populations established on Chalky and Maud Islands .
Stoat trapping has worked well for whio, mohua, kakariki and bats.
Two techniques have eliminated rat plagues at five sites: aerially-broadcast 1080 poison for the initial knock down, and bait stations using other poisons to keep rat numbers at low levels.
Bait stations are laid every 150m on lines 100m apart, or are even more closely spaced. Mohua, bats and kakariki have benefited.
Egg hatching and rearing in captivity has worked well for whio and kakariki.

Warning Notice. Possum Control, Aorere Extension

Tasman Pest Control Limited is using ground laid poison baits and trapping from early November until mid December this year. Warning signs will be placed at access points and remain in place while toxic baits are present. The operational area is mainly on private land but also covers conservation estate along the southern and eastern boundary on the Quartz Range and against the Aorere River . It extends from the Aorere/Brown River confluence to the Boulder River , with the Aorere River as the eastern and northern boundary, Salisbury Creek as the eastern boundary and the Clark River as the southern boundary.

Something a bit more challenging in mind. Try this!

Anne & Gottlieb Braun-Elwert, Alpine Recreation Ltd, P.O.Box 75, Lake Tekapo 7945 New Zealand

Phone: 0064-3-680 6736 Fax: 0064-3-680 6765 offer a 20% discount on the normal price for group bookings of 6-8 people for Ball Pass. For the climbing course there's a 10% discount for a group booking of 3 and 20% for a group booking for 4.

1) A crossing of Fitzgerald Pass via the Jubilee Route - requires competence with crampons and ice-axe. (Don't attempt this unguided because it took several attempts for us to find a safe route.)

2) A climb of Mt Sefton (from surf to summit - not by helicopter!) - once again this requires good crampon skills. See Mount Sefton info:

3) For those who have very little or no crampon/ice-axe experience we have 4 day or 6-day climbing courses :

4) The Ball Pass Trek – suitable for seasoned trampers who do not want to carry a heavy pack:

Identify yourself as a member of NTC

We have some high quality embroidered Club badges for sale to Club members. Contact Mark Stevens.

For those who like to leave their mark in Hut books we now have Club stickers for club members which are free and are available from Gillian and Hec at Basecamp.

Hints on Safety

(From NZ Mountain Safety Council “Going Bush” and “Survival” pamphlets)


You may decide to seek help if someone in your group is seriously injured or goes missing. If you are carrying a Mountain Radio or an emergency beacon, getting advice and assistance may be easier than if you don't. If not, you will have to send someone, if possible two people, out with a message. However you get help, make sure you communicate the following essential details:

• what has happened, and when

• details of the missing person/people and other group members

• details of injuries/illness

• relevant resources: clothing, equipment and experience

• location of the group

• action taken and immediate plans.

Messengers must mark their route carefully so searchers can find their way to the group easily


If you need to move to a safer site, or if changing circumstances enable you to make your own way out, make it easy for searchers to follow you. Leave notes, cairns , arrows etc. indicating the route you have taken.

It is often better to stay put unless you are sure you can find your way out.



• Arrows – of rocks or wood.

• Cairns – mounds of stones.

• Coloured items of clothing or equipment – place on ridges, or tie to saplings and shake.

• Smoke – burn green leaves.

• Noise – if you hear searchers: blow your whistle, bang rocks together or against a plate, shout, fire gunshots.

Trip Companion(s) wanted.

Chandler Stream.  

Never heard of it? Just past the Coldwater Hut you cross a bridge that spans the Chandler Stream. It runs down from the Third Basin on the Robert Ridge . There was once a track that ran from the valley floor up through Third Basin  to Flagtop above the ski field. I am told it was put in by the Mt Robert Club, but has not been maintained for 40 years. Twice I have tried to retrace it, but on both occasions I ran out of time and the second time also out of energy. I found old red premolar markers initially, but lost them further up. The going was quite steep at first, but was fairly open and straightforward. With time I am sure I would have got through. The stream itself is in a gorge so you travel above it on the true right bank. From time to time you can venture out onto prominent rocks or overhangs to see some attractive cascades and holes. One waterfall I saw must have been at least 20m high. Is there some good keen person of reasonable fitness out there who would like to find and re-establish this old route? If so I could give them what information I possess. Ring me. If reinstated it would make a good fit day trip for the Club. Grahame Harris, 539 4455

Useful Websites

www. flight is a scenic and charter flight company now operating out of the terminal building at the Nelson Airport . Some options here that may interest you or your summer visitors.

Contributions from Club Members

Trekking in Nepal

Pat Holland has recently returned from 4 weeks in Nepal , the multiple highlight being the Annapurna Circuit. This 21 day “Tea House” trek is one of the most popular and November is the high season. However, nothing could diminish the awesome grandeur of the Annapurna Himal, the beauty of the varied landscape and the diversity of the villages and cultures that the trek traverses. The courtesy and good humour of the Nepalese people, despite the many economic and political difficulties they face, is also an enduring memory. Pat travelled with a small group organised by 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking Ltd operating out of Pokhara. They specialise in having mainly female guides and female porters for women trekkers. Overall the organisation was excellent and the mixed group of westerners and porters with very experienced guides were a lot of fun to be with. Highly recommended.

Note from the Programme Co-ordinator

In view of the difficulties I had in getting enough people to fill the Jan/Feb programme (I know it's a busy time of year for most) next summer's programme will be reduced to one trip per weekend. Unless, of course, there are a number of volunteers. I will put a reminder note in the preceding newsletter.

Committee News 

President in Rotation

Acting President Mark Stevens finishes his period in the chair at the end of this month. Mark's good natured sense of humour and willingness to take on the role has been much appreciated. Thank you, Mark!

Next in the chair will be me, Hec Arbuthnott, and my contact details are as noted in my “Editors Comments”

Editor’s Comment.

As 2007 draws to a close it is timely to thank all those who contribute to the well being of the Nelson Tramping Club, in particular those who volunteer (or accept the invitation) to be a trip organiser, and all those who have added value in one way or another over the past year. So “THANK YOU”.

Contributions and comments to the Editor, Hec Arbuthnott by email fax to 5481710, Mail to 10 Wiltshire Place, Stoke or hand in to Basecamp at 295 Trafalgar Street. NELSON.

REMINDER: Club members receive a 10% discount from Basecamp and Rollo’s.