Newsletter, April 2014

CONGRATULATIONS on your 80th > John Tantrum


Download the printed version of the newsletter (8 pages colour), as a small 1 megabyte PDF file. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar program installed on your computer. Broadband connection preferable.)


At a recent pub night, it suddenly dawned on us that our illustrious club is about to turn the ripe old age of 80. For any newbies who weren’t at our 75th anniversary weekend in 2009, here’s our history:

On 29 May 1934, almost 60 folks attended a public meeting. In forming our club, they chose five objectives:

  • Provide means for health-giving outdoor exercise
  • Assist in any emergency
  • Bushcraft instruction
  • Increase facilities in the backcountry
  • Foster preservation of bush & bird life

Our first tramp, in June, was to Third House, up Jenkins Hill, returning to the Brook valley. 40 people went on this local jaunt. The first overnighter was in August to Mt Arthur. Three hours climbing above the Graham valley saw them arrive at Flora Hut. Alas, snow and rain kept them off the summit. It seems somewhat ironical, that we now help DOC maintain the exact same hut in the Flora valley.

Tramps were held every second weekend, mostly local rambles to places such as Drumduan, Mt Duppa and Dun mountain. A ‘special car’ was hired to access destinations further afield such as Nelson Lakes. Otherwise, members had to walk or cycle to the start of a track.

Without the luxury of DOC’s excellent hut network, these 1930s pioneer trampers carried materials on their own backs and built the first Rocks Hut (20 bunks) and Starvaell Hut (12 bunks). More recent versions of these huts still stand in Mt Richmond Forest Park today.

Global Warming hadn’t happened yet, and there was snow to wade through on Jenkins Hill, snowball fights on Wooded Peak, and ice skating across the tarns on Mt Robert.

The mighty Internet hadn’t been invented, so Trip Reports were published in the Nelson Evening Mail.

Without the existence of portable cookers, the trampers of yesteryear spent lots of time chopping wood and lighting fires. And without the luxury of waterproof synthetic clothing, trampers wore everyday clothes. Women wore skirts; men wore long pants, jackets and work boots.

To celebrate their first anniversary, club members organised a dance. Social events such as formal dances were held fairly often, with large numbers attending. Dancing was also an evening activity on weekend trips to backcountry huts.

Speaking of social occasions, why not join us at the next club night where Hudson Dodd is sharing his plans for the Waimarama Sanctuary. It’s directly related to our fifth objective: ’Foster preservation of bush & bird life’.

See you at Club & Pub Nights...

Raymond Salisbury, Editor


March edition is hot off the press. Collect your copy at Wises Picture Framers, Buxton Square, Nelson. Copies are also available at club nights along with Safety in the Mountains (this edition is nearly sold-out nationally!)

PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACONS > Notice for Trip Leaders

Our beacons have been busy, including one recent rescue, where the helicopter could not easily locate the party. 

Please remember to:

1) Fill out the entire form. The finer details are what SAR need to find you. Explain your intended route & possible alternative routes.

2) Before activating the beacon, get into a clearing. Satellites can’t pick up signals in thick bush. Keep the PLB upright. Do not move it once activated.

3) Hold up bright clothing or pack liners to assist the helicopter in sighting your position.

4) Consider using a cellphone first - this can provide two-way communication & save money.

Our 5 beacons can still be borrowed / hired from either location:

Rollo's Outdoor Centre
12 Bridge Street, Nelson. Ph 548 1975

Stirling Sports
213 Queen Street, Richmond. Ph 544 8290

Also, please be prompt in returning the PLBs and report any damage too.

CLUBNITES > Put on your calendar!

Monday 7 April > Guest Speaker: Hudson Dodd

Hudson Dodd is general manager of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. His professional background spans the public, private, and non-profit sectors, with extensive leadership experience in community-based wildlife habitat conservation initiatives in the United States’ Pacific Northwest.

He will speak on the urgent need for fenced mainland island wildlife sanctuaries as a key component in NZ’s wildlife conservation movement.

He will also provide an update on the plans and timelines for completing the development of the 14km pest-proof fence to enclose 700ha in the Brook Valley. This will create NZ’s second largest fenced sanctuary and visitor attraction.

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

PRIVATE TRIPS > Info re SAR requirements

If you've borrowed our beacons for your personal tramp:

EMAIL your intentions to Pat Holland, Lawrie Halkett or Chris Louth before leaving. They are our SAR contacts, especially if the hire shops are closed, (e.g. at midnight.)

Mountain Safety Council > Courses in Nelson

Risk Management Essentials > 17-18 May > COST: TBA.

Venue: TBA.

This course teaches participants how to apply risk management principles in outdoor activities and tests their ability to cope with emergencies.

Risk management is defined as “the process of reducing potential loss to an acceptable level”.

Outdoor First Aid: Refresher > 15 June > COST: $95

Venue: Nelson Girl Guide Centre, Lee Valley, Brightwater

Participants will work together to treat people injured in mock accidents and emergencies.

Some classroom based theory work. Must have a valid 1st Aid certifcate already.

Bushcraft Basics > 6–7 September > COST: TBA

The course is aimed at beginners or those with little experience. A planned weekend overnight trip is included. More info on this one at:  


Contact:  Evelyn O’Neill.

Mail: 23 Coleridge Place, Stoke.

Telephone: (03) 547 2426



Tramping the St James, Lewis Tops, or Harper Pass routes?
We can take the hassle out of your holiday, and add a touch of comfort at either end of the journey.

  • 65-bed lodge
  • Hot showers
  • Cooking facilities
  • $28 / night / person
  • Shuttle service to tracks – $26 for car shuttle to St James
  • Safe vehicle parking – $7 per day
  • Catering company can provide meals
  • 40 minutes from Hanmer Springs; 3 hours from Nelson

Phone: (03) 315 7082. Email:
Private Bag 55002, Orchard Road, Christchurch 8154

NEW FREEZE-DRI MEALS > Absolute Wilderness

We’re a Stoke-based company producing freeze dried meals that taste amazing, are super simple to use and are packed full of the nutrients you need in the outdoors. We’re exclusively available in Rollos, Nelson and online.

Food should taste good wherever you are


Don Schwass, who has worked for search and rescue in Nelson for decades, kindly spoke at a recent club night.

Don also provides the only FREE monitored tramping intentions service. Check out Adventure Buddy on-line:

If you need to hire tramping boots, tents, beacons, or even clothing...
Phone: 547 4817 > Cellphone: 021 111 1177







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