Newsletter, July 2012


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Some feel we should embrace new technology.

Some see the obvious dangers, when we as consumers become consumed by the overwhelming plethora of technological gadgetry available to us, and the sensory overload surrounding us.

In the school where I work, we are are engaged in a pedagogical dialogue about the use and abuse of digital technology in our classrooms. Particularly the ubiquitious cellphone, which every teenager religiously carries on their person. Some take their devices to the bathroom – even to bed.

Recent reports reveal that Nomophobia is running rampant, especially with the younger generation. Surveys say that 66% of people admit they suffer from this ‘no mobile phone phobia’ – the fear of being separated from one’s cellphone.

Studies also show that folk check their cellular devices an average of 34 times a day, which seems obsessive. But in trying to ‘stay connected’, are we actually becoming DIS-connected from real relationships? Do we avoid intimacy by hiding in a virtual world of Facebook ‘friends’, and TXTs that have no body language or vocal inflection?

Although 90% of NZers own a cellphone, I am probably preaching to the choir. But if this editorial scratches where it itches; if this is you, then I have a simple solution: unplug from the Matrix, and go tramping!

Telecom won’t tell you this, but a mere 5–10% of New Zealand has cellular coverage; that’s mostly coastal. So, my remedy for Nomophobia is to join a tramping club, where there’s lots of like-minded Luddites to empathise with. And head for the Hills, where there’s heaps of huts to hide away during the withdrawal phase of your addiction. And, as Gandalf once aluded to, where you can breathe the free air.

Raymond Salisbury, EDITOR

MEMBER PROFILE > Gillian Arbuthnott

1. Occupation: Retailer (at Basecamp shop)

2. Where were you born? Absolutely Positively Wellington.

3. How long have you been a member? 8 years.

4. What benefits have you found being a member? Becoming familiar with a previously unfamiliar region of NZ, developing a sense of awe and wonder of Nature and experiencing sublime feelings of peace and contentment.

5. Best tramp: Bushline Hut via Pinchgut track, Nelson Lakes National Park.

6. Worst tramp: On my second outing with NTC to Mt Jones: I took a comfort stop. The group of 20 trampers had continued on at a brisk pace.
I was left alone at a crossroads to decide which of three tracks to take. Hmmm....!

7. Funniest moment: A mid-winter slip backwards into Reservoir Creek. I scrambled to my feet and SPLASHED into the water again. 

8. The direction in which I really want to point my boots: Northwards to the Queen Charlotte Track, Sikkim and the Indian Himalaya, and to Corsica.

President's Annual Report

In terms of numbers, club tramps undertaken this year have been busy with the weather gods smiling down on we Nelsonians, especially at weekends.

In addition to the weekend tramps, the other activities that have kept many members busy have been the bi-monthly club nights and monthly NTC committee meetings.

These activities are all made possible by a little bit of organisation. This organisation comes courtesy of some very generous club members that give of their time selflessly for the benefit of all.

The key people that work very hard to keep the club vibrant certainly deserve a pat on the back. So Jim, many thanks for your mammoth efforts in pulling together the weekend tramping programmes. Mike, thanks to you for endeavouring to bring us all into the world of the internet and help make future programme organisers lives easier by enabling the programme to be developed on-line. Pat Holland, thank you for fielding all the paperwork that goes along with the busy role of being secretary. Congratulations to Pat for taking on the role on the FMC Council, representing the ‘Top of the South’.

Raymond, thank you for your editorial and creative skills in making sure the NTC newsletters are of a very high standard. Brenda, thanks to you for your work as Treasurer, making sure we have enough fees coming in to cover our in outgoing expenses. Merrick, thanks for being Minutes Secretary, accurately recording all we say and promise to do! Thanks to Dion and Bob for serving as committee members.

I would especially like to pay tribute to all the weekend club trip leaders, as without your preparedness to take on the leadership responsibility we would not be having weekend tramps.

For me, the highlight of 2011 –2012 was the navigation weekend held at the Glover property near Glenhope. It was a great weekend and Mike and Deidre were fantastic hosts, as they shared their skills in the art of bush and mountain-top navigation.

The low point was certainly the tragic loss of Ruth Hesselyn on March 13th, while traversing between Mt Arthur and the North Twin. The commemorative weekend at Flora Hut, attended by a strong turnout of club members along with Ruth’s immediate family, was a wonderful step along the way to healing the loss of such a strong and spirited club member.

My final comment is reserved for all club members: please consider stepping forward to do your time on Committee. A number of existing Committee members are standing down and if we cannot regenerate Committee numbers then the club’s future itself is endangered. It is not all that hard, and there are enough of us remaining so we can ease you in.

> Call me on 544 4096 or Pat Holland on 539 1340.

Lawrie Halkett, 2012 President   

Email: Club President 

Flora Hut > A Proposal 

The first Flora hut was built in 1927. In 1972 the NZ Forest Service demolished the old hut and rebuilt a new hut to the same design on the same site. This was about the time the road was pushed in from the Graham Valley up to Flora Saddle. In 1987 DOC assumed responsibility for the Park and its management.

...Fast forward to June 2012.

Part of the process of recognising Ruth Hesselyn’s immense contribution to the club is undertaking something to remember her by. One suggestion that has gained some traction has been to focus on Flora Hut, which is under threat of removal by DOC. The club could take on some level of maintenance.

There have not been any firm commitments made as to what level of support NTC may give DOC, but whatever might be considered, it was mentioned to DOC that the idea of getting involved with the hut’s maintenance by the Club would require consultation with club members.

Progress in this direction so far has comprised Pat and I meeting with DOC in Motueka (Martin Rodd) in early May for a first discussion. We left DOC saying we would talk it through with our Committee, then with the club members at large and report back as we progressed our thoughts. The committee has since had a discussion about the concept of being involved with the maintenance and the general consensus was that we should take this idea to the next club night for a general discussion. That opportunity came along on the 11th June. Again, there was a majority that thought this concept was worth taking further.

The next meeting is scheduled with DOC on Thursday 12th July at 10.00am – if anyone wishes to come along please give me a call.

The main point to consider is the
extent that NTC takes responsibility for Flora Hut. Our understanding is that DOC do not want to give the hut to NTC so that it becomes our sole responsibility.

Pat and I have made it clear to DOC that if we take anything on it will need to be first negotiated, and secondly agreed to, by the club at large.

Our thoughts are that we negotiate a role for NTC that is commensurate with our capacity to fulfil. For example, a) participate in planning meetings with DOC and Friends of Flora re ongoing management of hut, repairs, facilities etc; b) take part in 1-2 working bees per year plus other specific requests; c) organise club and community activities centred around Flora. This would be on some sort of short-term arrangement, not a long-term contract.

Finally my philosophy in life is if you take something you should always put something back. I take enjoyment and spiritual rejuvenation from my trips into the bush and mountains, so to have the opportunity, whatever it is the club decides to do, seems to me to be the right thing to do.

Let the discussion roll!

Lawrie Halkett, 2012 President




Phone: 544 4096
Email: Club President


 UP-coming CLUBNITES > Put them on your calendar

7:30pm Nelson Intermediate School, Tipahi Street. Gold Coin.

Monday 6 August : 79th AGM > Keynote Speaker: Ray Caird

How about tramping over the Pyrenees and through Spain for 30 days?

The Camino de Santiago is the world heritage trail that meanders for 800km through the mountains the villages and plains of Spain.

Ray Caird and Rosalie Hosefield have both walked this famous pilgrims trail last year.

Ray will present his videos and slides – with Spanish music – and he and Rosalie will share their stories about the Refugios, the wine, and the blisters ... plus anything else you would like to know. – an evening not to be missed!

There are large gaps in the current committee so we need new blood. Please offer your assistance so the essential functions for smooth operation of the club can proceed. Many hands make light work.

> All nominations must be received by 16 July.


– Vice President

– Minutes Secretary

– Correspondence Secretary

Monday 2 October: > Keynote Speaker: Shaun Barnett

Join Shaun for a club trip over the weekend, then hear him speak on the Monday evening. He will be sharing about one of his South Island traverses - apparently he’s walked the Mainland is three stages.

Shaun is also launching his latest book in October, about backcountry huts. This promises to be a great gift or stocking-filler for Xmas.

GPS AVAILABLE > Thanks to Jim Maxwell

Easy to use. Simply switch on, and put in your pack. If you get lost, you can then back-track following the waypoints that the GPS has automatically recorded.

> Contact Jim Maxwell for a loan.
Email Jim Maxwell

FMC LEVIES > Double Dipping

Email the Treasurer, Brenda Griffin, if you prefer to pay your FMC levy ($10.00) via another club. (e.g. If you’re already paying this through the Waimea Tramping Club, or the Alpine Club.)


 Email Club Treasurer


The charge for each trip to be paid by each passenger is calculated using the following formula. This was set up by past-president Grahame Harris about ten years ago (he was an accountant). It is currently administered by Margot Sym and Jim Maxwell as they assemble trip programmes.

Cost per person per km in dollars is:

((1355 x P) + 1210) / 42000

where P is the petrol price in dollars per litre.

The current 91 octane petrol price is $2.19 (P = 2.19) yielding a cost pp per km of $0.10.

The return distance for each trip is measured with any unsealed km x 1.5

So, for example, for a trip with a road distance to the track of 75km sealed and 10km unsealed gives a total return km of 150 + 30 = 180km and therefore the cost pp is $18.

Grahame’s formula assumes there will be 3 paying passengers per vehicle and that the vehicle will be a solid sedan (i.e. not a mini or a bus). He also included other running costs such as tires and routine servicing. However, insurance, registration, WOF and depreciation costs are not included. The charge was originally called a donation but the committee thought this term was too soft.

This formula has served the club well, ensuring owners are adequately recompensed, on average, for being prepared to put their vehicles forward and enabling trips. The charges would be much higher if the AA mileage rates were used because these are based on the total cost of owning/running relatively new vehicles. However, transport charges are still going up because of the ever-increasing price of petrol.

One particular factor, amongst many, that might be considered is the number of passengers. If there are greater or less than 3 for a particular trip/vehicle then the driver will be making a nominal profit or loss which could be quite high for a long trip.

The listed transport charge is really just a starting point and is open to negotiation to meet the particular circumstances of each trip. Feedback from members is most welcome.
Email Jim Maxwell

MOUNTAIN SAFETY COUNCIL > Courses run in Nelson

Contact: Evelyn O’Neill.

Mail: 23 Coleridge Place, Stoke.

Telephone: (03) 547 2426



Basic Alpine > 25–26 August > COST: $175
Venue: Rainbow Ski Field

The course is aimed at those with limited experience. It will suit those who intend to travel on non-technical snow and alpine terrain and are looking for entry-level instruction to mountaineering. (Pre-course evening, 2 field days.)

Pre-requisites: certificate of attendance from ‘Alpine Introduction’ or equivalent (e.g. has used crampons and ice axe on snow). Decision on attendance to be made by MSC Branch Alpine Coordinator.

Outdoor First Aid > 8-9 September > COST: $180
Venue: Paretai Lodge, Brightwater

WRITING COMPETITION >The newsletter needs you!

To spice up our bi-monthly rag, and to motivate aspiring wordsmiths, the Editor has launched a club-wide competition.

Deadline: End of 2012. Prize: Voucher (to be advised)

Dust off your typewriter, and get writing. This could be your next trip report, or a proactive piece on the pleasure (or pain) of tramping. There’s no word limit, but a decent effort will probably score higher than just a few lines. Poetry and prose, (especially humour) are welcome.

Entries limited to members only.

Raymond Salisbury, EDITOR