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DOC launches Campsite Pass

Campsite and boats at Motuora Island Campsite Photo: Yvonne Sprey | Creative Commons

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DOC has launched a Campsite Pass that gives access to 94 per cent of all DOC campsites around New Zealand.
“The campsite pass offers great value for frequent campsite users and encourages use of quieter campsites outside of peak season,” DOC’s Steve Taylor said.

The pass will include bookable and non-bookable campsites, and run for a week, month or year, though there are restrictions to when and how long the pass can be used. 

“Before you book your next camping holiday, check to see if the pass could cut costs for you and your group,” Taylor said.

An annual Campsite Pass will cost $140 for an adult – $4 cheaper than a Backcountry Hut Pass. Get more details here.

Did Māori discover Antarctica?

Māori may have been the first people to reach Antarctica, a study claims.

According to indigenous philosophies researcher Krushil Watene and conservation biologist Priscilla Wehi, historical links between Māori and Antarctica may have been revealed in historical accounts of early voyaging. 

If the accounts are accurate, voyager Hui Te Rangiora may have sailed as far south as Antarctica as early as the seventh century.

“He saw enormous, barren summits jutting out of the sea and into the sky. He saw unfamiliar shapes in the waves: tresses waving at the surface, animals that dove to great depths and seas of pia, the Polynesian name for the white tuber called arrowroot,” Sabrina Imbler wrote for New York Times.

A second study by the researchers proposes the introduction of kaitiakitanga – guardianship – to conserve the continent.

PLB saves tramper in Kahurangi National Park

A South Island tramper who spent two nights in the elements has been rescued in Kahurangi National Park.

A search team was set to be deployed on Monday morning after the man failed to return from a trip on the Boulder Lake Track on Saturday.

Before the team departed, however, the man deployed his PLB, and was quickly located by a rescue helicopter and airlifted to safety.

“If he didn’t have that beacon, he’d still be sitting there,” Nelson senior constable Dave Colville said.

The man was treated for hypothermia at Nelson Hospital. Read the story here.

Free solo climber recounts death-defying fall

A free solo climber who fell nearly 60m and survived has shared his story with Outside magazine.

The 31-year-old Californian man, Josh Ourada, was climbing a five pitch route in Yosemite National Park when he slipped and fell onto a rock ledge below.

“I was plummeting feet first with my back toward the rock,” Ourada said.

“I was digging my heels into the rock as I fell, and my hands were on the wall behind me, searching for anything I could grab to catch myself or even just slow down.”

Ourada spent 37 days in hospital, recovering from a punctured lung, fractured heel, pelvis, sternum and spine, amongst other injuries.

Cats and stoats killing Canterbury kea, study finds

Around 40 per cent of a monitored kea population in Canterbury was predated by stoats and feral cats last year, a study shows.

DOC’s five year study aims to show why kea populations on the eastern side of the Southern Alps are declining faster than on the west, Stuff reports.

After two years of monitoring, researchers have found a spike in predation after the massive beech mast of 2019.

“Just six per cent of the monitored kea were killed by predators in 2019, but this jumped to 40 per cent in 2020, most of which were eaten by stoats and feral cats,” DOC’s Josh Kemp said.

“This is the first time we’ve recorded such a large proportion of radio tagged adult kea, both males and females, being killed.”

The study will continue until 2023.