The Dominion Post

Climbers’ bodies to remain on mountain overnight

- Stuff reporters

The bodies of two men who died climbing Taranaki Maunga on Tuesday will remain on the mountain overnight.

Police said due to the conditions yesterday attempts to retrieve the bodies were unsuccessf­ul and the recovery operation would resume again today.

Police were first notified about 10pm on Tuesday that a climber had fallen near the summit of the maunga, the second highest in the North Island.

A search and rescue operation began and the Taranaki Rescue

Helicopter was dispatched. Police found the bodies of two climbers just after midnight. But due to the conditions overnight, the bodies could not be recovered.

Officers and Alpine Cliff Rescue staff then spent much of yesterday on the mountain attempting a recovery and conducting a scene examinatio­n, but they were unsuccessf­ul and all were off the maunga by 5pm.

Stuff understand­s both men were Christchur­ch based and worked for Tonkin & Taylor, an environmen­tal and engineerin­g consultanc­y.

It is understood the two men were in Taranaki for work, but the climb was not work related.

Tonkin & Taylor managing director Dr Tim Fisher said the company was notified by police yesterday morning that two of its ‘‘treasured staff’’ members had been involved in a climbing incident.

‘‘Our priority right now is to support their families and our people as we deal with this incredibly sad news,’’ he said.

‘‘We would like to thank Taranaki police and search and rescue for their service and support.’’

A statement read: ‘‘Inquiries into the circumstan­ces of the incident are ongoing and efforts are being made to identify the two people involved.’’

Tramper and search and rescue member Jack Osephius had been on Taranaki Maunga overnight on Tuesday and said the weather was ‘‘perfect’’.

Osephius was returning from his own overnight stay when he received a notificati­on asking if he could be on standby to help retrieve two bodies.

He was near Tahurangi Lodge, about 1500 metres above sea level on the north side of the maunga, and offered his assistance, which was not needed.

‘‘It’s all in the hands of police,’’ he said.

Osephius said he understood the incident happened near Syme Hut, which is on Panitahi, or Fanthams Peak, at an elevation of 1940 metres and about 500m from the summit.

‘‘The weather was good, but it’s frosty up there.’’

goes back years, to Bishop very nearly beating Mallard out of his long-held Hutt South seat in 2014. He then tried extremely hard to keep the seat red, but Bishop temporaril­y took the long-held Labour seat. Both men, who have the ability to be polite about their opponents when the cameras aren’t rolling, cannot say a nice word about the other.

That hatred was centre stage as Mallard and Bishop went at it on Tuesday night.

Mallard, who has mostly kept from outwardly attacking his attackers in recent months, used the absolute legal protection of parliament­ary privilege to say he believed that the man sexually assaulted a colleague and had no place working in Parliament. He took the case for a defence that he has long wanted to make far further and with far more political venom than was needed – it’s easy to understand why Ardern found the need to reprimand him. His hate for Bishop dripped off every comment he made – as did Bishop’s hate for Mallard.

Bishop and National’s Michael Woodhouse continued to take an incredibly narrow view of the case – arguing that their push to get Mallard’s head has nothing to do with the actual sexual assault complaint, just the defamation case.

This is wilful ignorance. When these debates happen in Parliament, they are part of a wider national conversati­on, a complicate­d one sparked by the Harvey Weinstein saga that is far from being resolved. But when they happen in Parliament, they also have a way of becoming ‘‘my party, right or wrong’’.

The polarisati­on of this issue into different political sides – with Willow Jean-Prime accusing National of victim-blaming, and National MP Tim van de Molen suggesting that Kieran McAnulty’s speech would lose him his seat – does nothing good for that national conversati­on. Let alone the woman at the centre of this.

 ?? SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF ?? Conditions on Taranaki Maunga were relatively clear, though there was some cloud about the ranges.
SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF Conditions on Taranaki Maunga were relatively clear, though there was some cloud about the ranges.
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