Ronnie Fong went missing in the Hunua Ranges four days ago. He is now safe and well, much to the relief of his family and for so many of us who have watched this story develop. It is so easy to get lost, have an injury or make a mistake in planning when one enters the New Zealand bush.
We do not have dangerous animals (unless one includes wild boars!) insects, snakes---shall I add crocodiles? Too often we can make a common misjudgement that ‘she’ll be right mate.’ The result--- we unfortunately read sad headlines describing a death of a hiker or trapper and massive amounts of money are spent on a fruitless search. Too many trampers think that our bush is benign and that there are few dangers. They sometimes make a fatal error in not informing the relevant authorities that they are entering the bush; often not even including their friends.
Not taking adequate preparations would be the main issue causing these unnecessary tragedies. Lack of planning, all-weather clothing, and food, water (yes, sometimes the water in our streams is not as ‘clean and green’ as we would wish) can kill. Going in alone poses its own risks but if planning and people knowing are in place, then the risks are lessened. Ronnie ticked the boxes well.
His relentless desire to not give in is bloody legend. Yes he is a fit and well- prepared man, and many in his position would have failed and their families would not have had the happy reunion we read about in today’s papers. Ronnie--- I hope you tell your story in more detail. It is a salutary lesson for us all. Well done and get back in ‘there’ when you can. Go well.