Hope for men’s return
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
The Greenlea rescue helicopter carried police dive squad members, by rope, to steams and waterways that were inaccessible by land.