Warn visitors of outdoor dangers
The busy summer season is here — and with it, the numbers of people venturing into the national parks, bush and back country of the Central Plateau.
But our scenery can also be deadly, as the tragic death of Indian tourist Sateesh Babu Halehally-Chikkanna of Bangalore on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in October showed.
Department of Conservation Tongariro community relations senior supervisor Stacey Faire said while the ra¯ hui following Mr Halehally-Chikkanna’s death has been lifted, the memory of the search and rescue, then body recovery, lingers with all involved.
“The sadness of the tragedy has resonated deeply with rescuers and the burden feels heavier as this fatality could have likely been prevented.
“After such a tragedy we ask what can we do prevent this happening again? People talk about duty of care or more warning signs or gates, but it’s well known that people listen to recommendations from other people.”
Senior Constable Barry Shepherd of Taupo¯ Police is encouraging all Kiwis to “step up, help by reaching out and talking to our visitors, to our guests, our customers and people you meet on your travels”.
“Intervene. Ask them their plans, tell them about the New Zealand weather — what cold really means here, what rain really means here.
“Tell them jeans are not acceptable in any hiking situation. Let them know a torch can help save their lives,” Barry says. “If we all take the time to tell them at different times, at different places, then maybe safety messages will get through. “We have a collective responsibility to help care for our visitors. We need our visitors to thrive in our country not just survive.”
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Even in summer, conditions can change quickly in the mountains.