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Another Night in the Bush: by Bill McLeod

29/03/2021 8:56 PM | Bob McMillan (Administrator)

Wayne and I were working out of the Upper Waikare Hut and doing well. One evening Sonny Biddle, the National Parks ranger, turned up and spent the night with us. He was heading upriver eventually going to Maungapohatu. I had never been to Makomako hut so he said we could make a plan. He would take our packs with him on his packhorse which meant we could split up, do a day's hunting and he would leave our packs at the first bridge along the Makomako track then continue along his trip. Good plan but it didn’t work . Wayne and I met up at our designated spot and we made our way along to where Sonny was to have left our gear. It wasn’t there. Looked all over the place. Nup, no gear. It was dark by now so we found a spot where there was a big downed tree meaning there was no shortage of firewood. Got the fire going and by the firelight got enough scrub to make a mattress each. No tucker, no cup of tea but she was right. The fire was toasty warm so we were quite comfortable. As the fire burned down we would gather more wood. Sometime during the night the wood supply was getting a bit thin so I went to the limit of the glow of the fire to get some more. Bent a big branch to break it when it broke where I didn’t expect it to. A piece came past my face and whipped my glasses off. They went flying into the night. I could have waited to find them in the morning but I felt very vulnerable without them. Down on my hands and knees, feeling all around, heading in the direction they probably went. Searched and searched. There was just a little glimmer of light off something on the ground in the bush. I felt where the glimmer was. It was my glasses. Very relieved I took my wood back to the fire where we waited till dawn. It got chilly in the later part of the night but we were fine. Next morning we went along the track toward Makomako and there were our packs by a bridge. The blue we made was in the interpretation of what constituted a bridge. Still it didn’t do us any harm and we continued our work.


  • 25/06/2021 8:43 AM | Anonymous member
    RIP Sonny. When I first got taken into the Waimana, I saw Biddle Gang scratched into so many track markers. There was nowhere in there that they hadn't been, often on horseback. His whanau are still there.
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