Image of the February 2013 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
February 2013 Issue
Home / Articles / Pigeon Post

Pigeon Post, February 2013

Letter of the month

Imbalance needs addressing

Heading away for another tramp I packed the December 2012 issue of Wilderness to read while I was in the bush.

I found it quite fitting when I opened the pages to come across the article ‘Hutless in the north’. I had travelled from Auckland to Ruahine Forest Park to do a multi-day tramp and became jealous of the huge range of choices that are available for huts in the Ruahines.

How I wish I could have the same opportunities with hut choices in either the Coromandel or the Kaimais. I only hope DOC and the ARC, which looks after the Waitakere and Hunua ranges, see the imbalance of hut resources and act.

Campsites are OK in the north but nothing beats getting into a hut and meeting new people who are like-minded and who you can bounce ideas off for new adventures.

– Brian Gunn, Auckland

* Our letter of the month correspondent receives a LED Lenser H7 headtorch courtesy of Send your letter to for a chance to win.

DOC priorities

I read with interest ‘Hutless in the north’ (December, 2012) – a great article and good coverage of sensible suggestions from Bryan Dudley of Auckland Associated Mountain Clubs and Graeme McGowan of the Auckland Tramping Club.

A few more huts in the Coromandel and Kaimai ranges would make a huge difference to northern trampers – and it is iniquitous that more and more of the huts up north aren’t covered by the Annual Hut Pass.

The observation that spending on the track system and huts is dictated by tourism is very true and needs to be addressed so that Kiwis can enjoy their own backcountry.

The odd priorities of DOC spending were illustrated by a letter from a tramper to the New Zealand Herald on December 20. The correspondent was shocked to find that the coastal track on Rangitoto Island is being covered by a thick layer of aggregate – at a cost of $460,000 to ‘smooth it over’. What an enormous waste of money. This track is enjoyed by Auckland tramping clubs as a natural bush track and the pumice surface is fine. The correspondent added Rangitoto and Motutapu are to host the next Great Walk. This was the first I had heard of this – and I wonder how widely it was notified and also how appropriate the idea of a Great Walk is on a wildlife sanctuary, anyway?

The issue of what DOC does spend money on is interesting. It needs all the money it can get for environmental projects yet is willing to spend huge sums on track upgrades to unnecessarily high standards. An example is the track from Mangetopopo car park to South Crater in Tongariro National Park.

When I tramp overseas I don’t see this huge spending on track grooming; a tramping track is what it is to be enjoyed by trampers worldwide.

– Trish Jenner, Auckland

Oppose conservation for prosperity

Mick Abbott’s article ‘Made of New Zealand’ (January, 2013) is appalling. Public conservation lands should have nothing to do with the material wealth of this country. Championing the ideas of ‘Conservation for Prosperity’ and ‘green growth’ is nauseating. Making a connection between jet boats and Hobbits with our outdoors is nonsense.

If ‘one of our best experimental labs is found in our public conservation lands’ is indeed fact, then we are in considerable trouble. The erosion of the core function of the Department of Conservation is indicative that this attitude is becoming more pervasive.

Million dollar huts and monorails are an example. The attitude professed by Mick Abbott must be vigorously opposed.

– Derek Boshier, Mount Maunganui

More North Island trips, please

I note a bias in Wilderness towards tramping in the South Island with wonderful descriptions of sometimes hair-raising journeys. This is fine if you are a South Islander with time and expertise but not so good for us North Islanders who may not be so technically skilled but still want ideas for multi-day tramps in the North Island. Maybe South Islanders are more active in sending in accounts of their trips?

I would love to see more contributions on North Island tramps. Maybe tramping is not as dramatic as the South Island, but there are superb tramps available and this will give us northern trampers further ideas. I am currently undertaking the Te Araroa Trail in bite size chunks and have just completed the Tararua section – perhaps I should have written in with an account of our journey?

I would like to see more articles on the many and varied tramps up here along with the technical accounts of climbing and tramping in the South Island. With a greater North Island population, these articles may encourage more to enjoy New Zealand’s great outdoors.

– Jeremy Cole, Havelock North

– You’re absolutely correct – Wilderness simply gets more stories sent in by those who have tramped in the South Island. Wilderness pays for all contributions, so if you’ve done a North Island trip get in touch with me or head to to check out our guidelines. – AH

Corn for the corn fritters

Your correspondent Simon Thompson (Pigeon Post, January 2013) might like to know that I have always made corn fritters with creamy-style corn in the tin available at any supermarket. I dehydrate it with our dehydrater. It will rehydrate in two hours, even give it a boil up to start with then let it cool before adding to the dry batter ingredients.

The Ova Easy dried eggs brand from outdoor shops works wonders and allows for the complete batter mix to be packed dry and only water needed to finish the mixture before cooking.

– Evan Pugh, Waikato

Unguided along the Hillary Ridge

Regarding my article ‘Guided along the Hillary Ridge’ (January, 2013), I’d like to point out to both the New Zealand Guides Association and the Department of Conservation that I did not receive any form of payment – including airfares to Afghanistan – to guide the Hillary Ridge.

– Pat Deavoll, email