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Being a member of the NZDA isn’t only about shooting deer

Last Sunday the 28th October, 2012, saw eight Senior Members of the Bush Branch, N.Z.D.A. meet at the Car Park, South of MT Bruce, to await their mode of transport, Jason Diedrichs’ Hughes 500, which was going to ferry them into the ‘Roaring Stag’ hut for a maintenance working B, and a bit of R &R. Four days was the allotted time. This was the second attempt to get in, as the weather had been terrible for the last month, but all went well this time.

The NZDA 'Roaring Stag Team' 2012

The NZDA ‘Roaring Stag Team’ 2012

High on the agenda was a full spring clean for the Hut and a tidy up of the surrounding area, also the landing pad needed some tender loving care and the Firewood Shed was nearly empty.

Jason Owns ‘Amalgamated Helicopters’ and is an excellent Pilot, and Person, so it wasn’t long before we were landed, unpacked, and rearing to go. I would recommend Jason without hesitation. It’s only a couple of years since our 50th Anniversary, when I rang him for a bit of Sponsorship towards our evening and he was forth coming immediately, thanks again Jason.

On the way in, we saw a Wild Pig, and a couple of Deer, so excitement was high. Athol Rowden was the organizer and he soon had a Work Sheet drawn up, and jobs allocated, so after a nice Meal, cooked to perfection by our ‘chef’, Bill Goodin, we discussed our Work for the morning, boiled the Billy and then into the Sleeping Bags and ready for the Morning.

Windows were first on the agenda, inside and out and then the Rushes in the front were given a Hair Cut by Murray Bengston. Warren Dykes and Jeff Kappely attacked the Wood Cutting with gusto and Tony Herlihy and Teo Geling levelled up the Landing Pad and got rid of any small stumps of Manuka. The boulders that were scattered around the site, were repositioned by Allen Duckett, with help from some of the party, and the clean up was duly completed on the third Evening.

A bit if R & R was slipped in and Jeff was totally frustrated by a Huge Trout, around 7 lbs ,which was swimming around a big pool with about 3 or 4 friends 100 metres downstream, but wasn’t at all interested in Jeff’s Fly.

In R & R time, some went up the Cattle Ridge track, some went up to Herapai and some went up the Flats, but unfortunately, no Deer were sighted, in fact, only a little bit of sign was seen, very disappointing. Walking in the Bush was so quiet, that we all noticed it, hardly a Bird was seen or heard, it was quite uncanny.

Thursday came too quick, and by 4.30pm, we were back at the Vehicles, said our goodbyes, and headed for home.

Each of the Members present, had over 30 years service to our Branch, and had held a position of some kind during that period, the average age was 69 years, and I for one hadn’t laughed so much in years, it was great to be together as a group of old friends, enjoying each other’s company.

Thanks to J H (Jack Hartstone), for sending us a bottle of Whiskey, just for medicinal purposes of course. Thanks to Chris Lester and his team of D O C WORKERS, down at the Masterton Office, it shows we can work together for both of our common goals.

If there was any downer s on this trip, it would have to be:

      1. Lack of Deer, none seen, little sign (apart from the 2 seen out of the Helicopter on the way in).
      2. The quietness of the Bush, and I mean REALLY QUIET, hardly any Birds seen or heard.
      3. That Huge 7lb Trout, which gave Jeff the run around, and his 3 to 4lb buddies.

But hey,
You can’t have everything, CAN YOU?
Tony Herlihy, 2012.

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