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Abandoned Tramping Pack Puzzles Police SAR

Abandoned Tramping Pack Puzzles Police SAR

New Zealand Police National News Release 10 October 2006

Wellington Police Search and Rescue Squad are mystified by an abandoned tramping pack they have recovered in the Tararua Forest Park.

Sergeant Jo Holden, SAR coordinator, says the maroon coloured MacPac brand pack containing a sleeping bag, orange pack liner, some food, clothing and cooking equipment and other items was found on the Block XVI track above the Tauherenikau River.

"Ownership of the pack is a real puzzle as we're unaware of anyone reported overdue in the area," she says. "Weather conditions in the Tararuas over the past fortnight have at times been extreme. This gives us concerns for the welfare of anyone who may be lost or requiring help.

"We're very keen to hear from anyone who recognises the pack or from people who haven't heard from friends or family members who intended tramping in the area in recent weeks."

Sergeant Holden says the pack was first spotted lying on the track - which runs between the popular Southern Crossing route and the Tauherenikau River - late last Wednesday by a group of Upper Hutt College teachers and students undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme tramp. The party alerted police when they came out of the bush and Sergeant Holden and a private tramping team went in on Sunday and recovered the pack.

The pack was partially opened when found, and alongside it was a green and navy striped long sleeved polypropylene top, a sleeping mat, various food items including a partially eaten roll of dog food, a first aid kit, men's toiletries, a small amount of religious reading material including a New Testament Bible, a Catholic newspaper dated September and a copy of The River of Life, a Catholic newsletter.

"We think the pack belongs to a man. One clue is the name Jamie scratched into an aluminium pot holder. The newsletters are recent, and a meat wrapper from a Kapiti supermarket was date stamped 13 September indicating the pack may have been on the track for two weeks or more," Sergeant Holden says.

An area around the site was searched but nothing untoward was found. SAR will check hut books for entries in the last month and, if nothing comes out of public appeals for information and background inquiries, will undertake a more extensive search around the area where the pack was found.

It's a four to six hour tramp from the nearest road ends - Kaitoke on the Wellington side of the Tararua Ranges and Wall's Whare from the southern Wairarapa side - to reach the spot where the pack was found.

People with information that can help identify the pack's owner are asked to call Wellington Police Search and Rescue on telephone:

ENDS

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