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Two women rescued from tramping trip

Two women, a mother and daughter, were rescued from the Tararua Forest Park near Waikanae, an hour north of Wellington. They had spent four nights sleeping in the forest without tent or sleeping bags. They only had enough food for one day.

Both women were experienced trampers in their native country, USA, but not in NZ. The daughter, Rachel aged 22, is a student at Massey University in Palmerston North. Her mother is visiting her. They decided to do a one day walk because Rachel wanted to show her mother the NZ forest. The track is listed as a 6- to 8-hour track for experienced trampers. They followed the orange markers to the top of a hill then lost the track. They went down, following a waterfall which was very steep and difficult. Rachel fell, got wet and bumped her head.

When they reached the bottom of the track, there was no way out. They made a bed of fern and slept close to each other to keep warm. The temperature dropped at night to 5C. Meanwhile, Rachel was becoming weak. She lost the feeling in her legs and arms. She could not see or hear so they had to stay where they were. They made a HELP sign out of branches. All they had to eat on the last day were 3 peanuts each.

It wasn’t until the third day that someone was concerned that their car was still at the entrance to the track and called the police. Two search and rescue teams went into the forest but a helicopter found them first. It managed to land, to pick up the women and take them to a local hospital for a check-up. Rachel was transferred to Wellington hospital.

One good thing was the fine, sunny weather. Day time temperatures were quite warm and there was no rain.


tramping (NZ Eng) – hiking (Brit Eng), walking for pleasure and exercise in a peaceful place, e.g. a forest

Grammar Notes:

• ‘had spent 4 nights” – past perfect because the rescue came afterwards.
• “a 6- to 8- hour track” – it takes 6 to 8 hours. When the number is used as an adjective before the noun, drop the final “s”. Similarly, a 10-year old child, a 2-year period etc.