Would it work for windscreen wipers too?


A trial using a non-toxic repellant that makes keas feel queasy might deter them from attacking sheep.

If it also works for windscreen wiper they could be on to a winner with people using South Island ski field car parks or tramping in the high country.

Keas are cheeky birds which entertain visitors? But they do a lot of damage to  the rubber on windscreen wipers and around the windows of vehicles and many’s the tramper who has been woken by one or more keas pecking holes in their tents.

UPDATE: TV3 reports researchers are looking at whether the repellant could be used on tents and cars too.




Amateur Taupo videographer Bevan Percival spent the past couple of months trampking in and around Mt Tongariro taking photos which he turned into this breathtaking timelapse sequence.

Hat tip: Stuff

It’s one of those days . . .


It was only 1.5 degrees at the bottom of Mount Iron late this morning but the view from the top was ample compensation for the cold.

It’s one of those days about which Katherine Mansfield said:

”It was one of those days so clear, so still, so silent you almost feel the earth itself has stopped in astonishment at its own beauty.”

Too safe can be dangerous


We’ve wandered along castle parapets and Roman mule tracks, climbed hills and walls and not once in Spain or Italy have we seen a sign like this:

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It was on Rob Roy track in Mount Aspiring National Park just before a bit of a slip that was so old the many feet which had walked over it since had worn a new track.

Near the start of the track was a newer, bigger slip which did require considerable care but it was too fresh for anyone to have put up a sign.

No doubt some time someone who is responsible for such things will discover the slip and provide a sign, but is it really necessary?

Is the motivation for such warnings safety or just to preclude any blame being laid?

And do warning signs and other precautions make life safer or more dangerous because it encourages us to stop looking after and taking responsibility for ourselves?

Fish & Game’s failed court bid could be costly


The ODT reports that Fish and Game’s failed challenge to pastoral lessees’ property rights could cost it a six-figure sum.

The two respondents to the High Court action instigated by Fish and Game, the High Country Accord, representing pastoral lessees, and their landlord, Land Information New Zealand (Linz), have both said they are seeking reimbursement of their costs.

The High Country Accord has said the case cost it $250,000, while Linz would not reveal its costs or how much it was seeking from the action heard by the High Court in Wellington.

While Fish and Game is not funded by taxpayers, it gets its money from the sale of fishing and hunting licences, it is a public entity, established by statute, which reports to the Minister of Conservation.

Its attempt to gain public access to pastoral lease properties was in effect one public body taking another to court.

It wasted money which should have been spent managing, enhancing and and maintaining sports fish and game in that action and it’s now likely that much more of the licence fees paid by anglers and hunters will go towards reimbursing the costs of the respondents.

You don’t know what you don’t know


The ODT reports on an Austrian tourist who had to be rescued after going tramping wearing street shoes with a sleeping bag, a foam sleeping roll and a can of baked beans.

Search & Rescue called him naive.

“The man did not think he was in any trouble, but we don’t think he had an appreciation for conditions.”

You can’t stop people doing stupid things when they don’t know what they don’t know.

But is it possible to train people to think about consequences before they do things when they don’t know what they’re doing?

You don’t see this in a gym


On cold wet mornings, there’s not a lot to recommend walking round the farm as an exercise.

But on a sunny spring day it comes with bonuses such as this:

Can we save them from themselves?


Search and Rescue  are not impressed with inexperienced and ill-prepared tourists.

Land search and rescue spokesman Phil Melchior, of Wanaka, said inexperienced alpine tourists were an ongoing problem and accounted for 30 percent of back country fatalities.

“People come to New Zealand and don’t understand just how fast the weather can change,” he said.

The six Australian tourists were caught out in heavy snow, a week after venturing into the mountains. They had no guide, avalanche beacons or probes, snow shoes or skis and only one shovel between them.

“There are extremely lucky to be alive in the circumstances, the chances of the rescue party finding six corpses were at least as high as finding six live people.” Mountain Safety Council avalanche programme manager Steve Schreiber said the tourists were foolish and needlessly endangered the lives of their rescuers.

“The weather we’ve had is just diabolical,” he said. “They were asking for trouble.” Mountaineers needed to take more responsibility for their own safety instead of expecting to be bailed out, he said.

The trouble is people don’t know what they don’t know and those who are experienced trampers or climbers in their own countries may not understand the differences between our conditions and climate and those they are used to.

We did a day walk in the mountains on the Liechtenstein – Austrian border, prepared as we’d need to be at home with food and water in our day packs. About three hours in to the trek we came across a cafe in the middle of nowhere. We remarked then that if this is what Europeans are used to it’s no wonder they get in to trouble when they come to New Zealand.

A friend backed this up with his story about coming across a group of English trampers on the third day of a five day tramp on Stewart Island. They were almost out of food becasue they’d taken only enough for a couple of days thinking they’d be able to buy more en route.

But how do you protect people from their own ignroance?  The Press has some suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »

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