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Hermitage Staff Honour One Of Their Own

Hermitage Staff Honour One Of Their Own

Staff at The Hermitage and Alpine Guides will share a minute’s silence on 29 December to remember the 100th anniversary of the death of George Napier, the first recorded person to die in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.

Mr Napier, employed by The Hermitage to assist the mountain guides, died under mysterious circumstances and his body was never recovered.

Last seen by the guided party he had taken to Ball Hut, George was to return to The Hermitage with the horses which were needed the next day by another group. However, somewhere between Ball Hut and the hotel he disappeared.

The horses were discovered outside the boundary fence with their harnesses still intact but George was nowhere to be found.

An extensive search turned up an old hat on a shingle spit in the Hooker River. The hat may have belonged to George so it was assumed that he lost his footing whilst crossing the river and drowned.

The account of his death is officially on record at the Aoraki Mount Cook Department of Conservation Centre but is also referred to in local station owner Gilbert Seymour's* father's diary.

The entry, dated 30 December 1907, reads “…Heard word today of one of guides at The Hermitage being drowned in crossing the Hooker river'.

*Gilbert and Marion Seymour live on "Ferintosh" Station.


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