An outing in the Ahuriri Valley on Search and Rescue work

For a week now a solo tramper has been missing over in the Ahuriri Valley. It’s a bit of mystery where he is!

Each day Wanaka Search and Rescue has fielded some teams, and on Friday two car loads of us drove over the Lindis, to add to other volunteers from all surrounding areas, even as far afield as Queenstown.

We were given ground already covered – namely just off to the side of the easy track he probably used.

Gearing up…
Dingle sar 1

Going throughly and slowly gave me time occasionally to look at the beauty around me, especially if I got ahead of my companions…
Dingle sar 2

Dingle sar 3

Dingle sar 4

These trees got this lean on due to snow last winter I suspect…
Dingle sar 5

Dingle sar 6

Dingle sar 7

Lunch with a couple of my good mates: Mike on the left, has spent a life time farming the high country, and has done an amazing amount of SAR, ambulance and fire brigade work in our small communities. Allan, center has done an almost unbelievable number of alpine climbs in the Southern Alps. Being with these two old mates not only engenders great trust in our team, but made my day so enjoyable…
Dingle sar 8

Joined by a Dunedin dog handler…
Dingle sar 9

Moody views more suited to photography than searching…
Dingle sar 10

Back down in the valley floor – tasks completed and heading to Search HQ…
Dingle sar 11

The New Zealand Air Force fielded one helicopter…
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And a fuel truck, and that’s some high tech pumping gear that I dare say could easily keep up with an Iroquois’s thirst of a 44 gal drum per 30 mins…
Dingle sar 13

Search Headquarters was the old Birchwood Station homestead. Endless cups of teas and sandwiches abounded, and being a bit damp and tired, this was just the bee’s knees…
Dingle sar 14

The nerve center occupied by the search management team. The dense blue spot on the projected map would have been all the downloads from the GPS units we all carry. The management then look for gaps, and if any are identified put a team into it to check it out. The high probability area seemed to be saturated. This’d make it very hard to decide “what next?”, as clues… well hardly any have apparently turned up…
Dingle sar 15

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley

  13 comments for “An outing in the Ahuriri Valley on Search and Rescue work

  1. Iain
    May 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    It’s a damn shame, I knew Dave well when we were kids. Still, I could think of worse places to go….

    • Donald Lousley
      May 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Iain, did not realise that! Seems quite a few folk I know knew him.

      Yes, if you love the bush and mountains…

      The Ahuriri is quite a special place eh! I always recall that trip we had into Canyon Creek and how the wind picked you up and you landed behind me – out of nowhere is how it seemed! Spooky!



    • Donald Lousley
      May 13, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      Indeed it was! Little did we know what was in store. We’re always going to profoundly miss B eh! I do feel she is always with us though.

      Btw I presume Dave lived in Oamaru? Now wondering if I knew him, be it briefly



      • Anonymous
        May 14, 2012 at 7:46 am

        Yep, we went through school together, lost track of him in the mid eighties in Dunedin..
        I remember that trip playing satellite spotting. Half an hour after everyone else has gone to sleep B screams out ‘I SEE ONE!’

        • Donald Lousley
          May 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

          That’s right she did! Now it’d be hard to not see one

  2. Iain
    May 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Well I do like to drop in unannounced from time to time 🙂
    That was a great trip, I’ve been in love with the place ever since.

  3. Adrian Reeve
    May 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks for this blog. I also new Dave. Am sad at his passing. Very weird for an experienced tramper. Sounds as if he slipped / it was fall ? (rather than a diabetes accident ?)

    Oh well.

    Thanks to all those who helped in the search

    • Donald Lousley
      May 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Hi Adrian

      Very sad all around.

      Not sure of the circumstances, and even knowing Canyon Creek really well I can’t guess the locality.

      As you say RIP, and at least finding him should help his family.



  4. Jan
    May 20, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Hi, I found this blog while looking up info about the Ahuriri after Dave went missing. I have worked with Dave for several years now and our workplace is devastated by his loss. He was a great guy with a great sense of humour and he is deeply missed by us all. The last two weeks have been hell for all his friends and family, but I can say we are all grateful he was found, finally. Thanks to all the SAR people involved, it is deeply appreciated. Your commitment and perseverance is amazing, hats off to you all.

    • Donald Lousley
      May 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Jan

      What a pleasure to share your words! My sympathies too, to all of you.

      My cousin Michael was involved a lot and today he told me details via phone of how it went. Many people did a great job!

      As this is quite a public place I won’t go into details except to say it was steep and complex terrain apparently, and technically not quite where the media stated [Canyon Creek is further west from the saddle into the Dingle].



  5. Richard German
    May 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I would like to add my thanks to all SAR folk involved in the search for Dave. I was his boss at the University Health Sciences Library, working with him on a daily basis (and I work with Jan). His passing leaves a huge hole for those of us left behind.

    Looking at the photos, I can see why Dave made several trips to the Ahuriri. He died doing what he loved best, where he wanted to be.

    • Donald Lousley
      May 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Hi Richard

      What a wonderful lot of tributes my little post is gathering. I don’t think I ever met Dave and obviously it’s been my loss!

      I’ll wait awhile and pass on the thanks. Although I was just on the fringes, it being not quite in my area, I do know the appropriate people.

      I think for my next post I’ll do the valley in greater depth as a way to share what he loved. I was fortunate to do countless trips there when I was younger.



    • Donald Lousley
      June 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Hi all commenters

      … just to say that I did pass on via the Police at the recent Omarama debrief your thanks to the SAR groups that helped find Dave.

      As a last follow up I’ve posted a pictorial article on the area.



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