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July 2021 Issue
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The fruits of lockdown

The camp above Marshall Pass is a contender for world’s best campsite. Photo: Michael Norman

It’s been more than a year since New Zealand went into lockdown, but it’s only now that some of the stories from those frantic weeks are surfacing as those who turned the anxiety, worry and boredom of several weeks cooped up in their homes into new projects, dreams and achievements. 

I’m sure many readers are bored to death with anything Covid-related and if you count yourself among that cohort, bear with me because the stories we’re sharing this month are very special. It’s only now that I’ve read them and seen them designed on the page that I realised there was an unofficial ‘fruits of lockdown’ theme to the issue and if it weren’t for this editorial, you may not have even realised it yourself. 

Despite New Zealand escaping relatively unscathed from the pandemic when compared to many other countries, the past year or so has obviously had a profound impact on many people. Take, for example, Matt Butler who lost his guiding job and then spent 12 months developing a survival kit which he’s had huge success at crowd-funding. 

Or how about Tarsh Turner who used her time in lockdown to read about the early European explorers who battled sandflies, mud and thick Fiordland bush under back-breaking 25kg packs. That research led Tarsh to retrace a route over Marshall Pass, off the beaten Milford Track, and into country seen by few others. 

Geoff Mead didn’t waste his days in lockdown. He pulled out his old diaries and maps to relive past tramping trips and to tally the number of huts he has visited. He wanted to join the hut bagging community and his impressive list saw him shoot straight into the top five on the website. 

So, even though the pandemic seems to be slowly releasing its grip on the world, the effects from that first lockdown in April 2020 are still being felt and it’s spurred in many the impetus to try something new, visit new places and rediscover a love of the great outdoors.