Hope for men’s re­turn

Ruapehu Press - - Your Health - ROBERT STEVEN

The mother of one of the men lost in the Ton­gariro Na­tional Park says her son has al­ways man­aged to ‘‘get out of strife’’ – and she has hope.

Palmer­ston North men Ha¯ kopa Ngaronoa, 26, and Vin­cent Tau­mira, 21, have been miss­ing in the Ton­gariro Na­tional Park since Satur­day, Au­gust 12, when the pair al­legedly fled from a po­lice chase on the Desert Rd.

Land Search and Res­cue crews and po­lice have been search­ing dense scrub since Sun­day Au­gust 13. Mem­bers of both men’s fam­i­lies have also joined the search.

Ha¯kopa’s mother, Maraea Ngoronoa, says her son was muchloved, and she had been over­whelmed with of­fers of help from as far away as Aus­tralia.

‘‘Ev­ery­one’s want­ing to pitch in,’’ she said.

‘‘That kind of love is over­whelm­ing and it’s hard to de­scribe.’’

Se­nior Sergeant Tony Jeuris­sen said 101 peo­ple were part of Satur­day’s search team, while 60 peo­ple were de­ployed to the bush on Sun­day.

The searchers, most of whom are vol­un­teers, trav­elled from as far as Auck­land and Welling­ton.

A beanie was found on Sun­day, which pro­vided the search man­age­ment team with an­other clue. The re­mains of a fire, cloth­ing and two shoes have been found so far.

Po­lice have up­dated the fam­i­lies each day.

Vin­cent’s un­cle, Hadleigh Balloch, said his nephew had no ex­pe­ri­ence in the bush

Maraea said her son had friends in gangs, but largely stayed out of trou­ble, work­ing a fork­lift driver.

’’He loves work­ing and he loves man­ual work. He was baling hay when he was 16,’’ she said.

‘‘He has al­ways man­aged to get out of strife,’’ she said.

‘‘As the po­lice said, while they’re still find­ing clues, there’s still hope.’’

Maraea said her son was a ‘‘strong-minded per­son’’ when it came to pro­tect­ing fam­ily and friends.

‘‘He has a soft side to him – a nur­tur­ing, lov­ing side.

‘‘The friends he has – the gangs and that – they don’t know about that side of him,’’ she said.

‘‘He’s an awe­some son: re­spect­ful to his el­ders, loyal to his friends, lov­ing to his fam­ily.

‘‘I live in hope, be­cause that’s all I’ve got left, be­sides love.’’

The po­lice search con­tin­ued on Tues­day; the tenth day of search­ing. FU­NERAL DI­REC­TORS

ROBERT STEVEN/STUFF

The Green­lea res­cue he­li­copter car­ried po­lice dive squad mem­bers, by rope, to steams and wa­ter­ways that were in­ac­ces­si­ble by land.

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