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September 2018 Issue
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PigeonPost, September 2018

Our letter of the month correspondent receives a copy of The Weather Detective by Peter Wohlleben plus a $20 voucher from

Letter of the month

The other side

I was in a group of three which happened to be at Blue Lake Hut the weekend when the incident with the boys from Christchurch occurred (‘Bunks for all – but her’, July 2018).

I don’t want to stir the pot too much, but I’d be a little wary of posting just one side of the story. This was Easter Weekend at one of the busiest huts in Nelson Lakes National Park, and the woman who was confronted by the boys mentioned she had no plan B. She threw her toys in the hut, and gave these guys no choice but to move outside, making sure they felt belittled in the process.

We came over Waiau Pass on the same day as these guys in miserable weather. One of our group become delirious from the cold and these guys stayed with us and were lovely. Even carrying her pack and holding her hands up the wet and frigid Waiau Pass.

We eventually got to the nearly empty Blue Lake Hut. The boys had asked the warden if they could pay for some bunks, and paid cash. Our group claimed two mattresses and we all settled in.

As families began to arrive, we offered our bunks to a young family and opted to camp. Others with tents were opting to do the same too, though sooner or later the hut was just plain full.

The woman mentioned in the article – the ‘her’ in the heading – was the last person to turn up, late in the day, in terrible weather. The hut was over capacity. She had no tent and no plan B. 

She then proceeded to one-by-one walk around the hut and ask to see everybody’s hut passes. When the boys showed only a receipt, she flipped and demanded they vacate. It created an awful tension in what was previously a very sharing and caring environment.

These guys were lovely as far as we saw, and politely moved out when it was clear the woman was not going to calm down. The claims the guys wanted to wet the woman’s sleeping bag are clearly not ok. 

– Izaak Wybourne, email

– Izaak wins a copy of The Weather Detective by Peter Wohlleben plus a $20 voucher from Readers, send your letter to for a chance to win. 

Pigs the problem

What bothers me about the kauri dieback problem facing our ‘Alps of the North’ (August 2018), is the huge elephant in the room: the presence of wild pigs in our kauri forests. While it would be acceptable, if not entirely useless, to exclude trampers from these forests, leaving wild pigs to root and rut wherever they want, spreading disease as they go, bears little or no comparison to the effects trampers may have.

Why is it that we do not wish to address this problem and how is it that so few people are willing to discuss it? Surely this has to be the greatest vector of disease in these forests.

Let’s ring-fence these wonders of nature before they become an artefact of the past.

– Ashley Conland, email

Time to wait 

Regarding the story ‘Private luxury lodge proposed for Fiordland National Park’, published on, I wish Abbe Hutchins well in her request. Be prepared for a long wait! 

In 2004, a group set up a trust to make Coal Island in south-west Fiordland predator free. Volunteers (many of them elderly) pay hundreds of dollars to cover the cost of helicopter flights to and from the island. They camp in that inhospitable climate for several days in tents. Many years ago the trust applied for consent to provide a small hut, or flyable ‘bivvies’, to accommodate up to six or so volunteers to keep them safe, warm and dry. DOC refused the request. 

Perhaps the trust’s request for a hut to provide shelter for those engaged in the most urgent task in conservation (which is predator control to protect our critically endangered species) does not meet the ‘conservation for prosperity’ mantra of the department. Perhaps Abbe’s luxury lodge will. We’ll wait and see.

– Ray Willett, Te Anau

A track no more

I’m concerned that in Pat Barrett’s article on Moss Pass (Classic Track, August 2018), he suggested Bull Creek as an alternative route into D’Urville Valley from Matakitaki. People may be encouraged to attempt this route as a result of reading this article and this could have dangerous outcomes.

I know Nelson Lakes really well and the Bull Creek Track hasn’t been maintained for several decades. People who have used the route say there is no obvious formed track and only the odd random permolat marker.

There are many of these types of rough tracks still marked on current maps that need either removing or labelled due to their poor condition.

– Laurence Buschl, email