Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 7 August 2009 Contents LOCAL NEWS
7 August, 2009 | Page 3
A packed audience of close to 200
gathered in Te Anau on Monday
night to hear a passionate and
emotive argument against the use
of 1080 poison in New Zealand.
The controversial documentary
Poisoning Paradise – Ecocide in
New Zealand was presented at
the Te Anau Club by its makers
Clyde and Steve Graf, of Hamilton.
Known as the Graf Boys, the
hunters and film makers are at
the start of a nationwide tour
promoting their DVD and raising
awareness of 1080 and its
Their work has been labelled
biased and for that they made
no apology. New Zealanders had
been fed a biased line on pest
control for close on 30 years; this
was simply the other side of the
story, they said.
“If it is the answer to all our
problems, how did we ever get
to make a documentary on the
adverse effects,” Clyde said.
The Graf Boys’ documentary
claims the 2000 tonnes of 1080
dropped on New Zealand every
year is killing the very species
its use is designed to protect. It
says 1080 use poses a significant
future threat to our agricultural
exports and New Zealand’s
clean green image. It also raises
questions about long term health
effects on humans.
But it doesn’t tell viewers what
they should do about it. Having
put together such a passionately
crafted resource, it seemed the
Graf’s king hit would be to ask
viewers to back an orchestrated
campaign for 1080 to be outlawed
and while it’s clear that’s what
they’d like to see, they’re not
driving it. There was no petition
to sign, as might have been
expected, nor any collections
taken up for a fighting fund. The
sale of the DVDs was simply to
offset the cost of producing and
After the screening the Graf
brothers said they just felt
compelled to make the film
by what they’d witnessed for
themselves – a kind of “moral
duty” to tell those who couldn’t
see it for themselves what was
happening in the back country.
“If we didn’t tell people, it’s like
we’re withholding information,”
Steve said.“We just want people
to see this and then make up their
At the conclusion of the screening
several people asked what they
could do if they opposed the
continued use of 1080. Write to
politicians, was the answer.
“They just have to let it known that
they’re unhappy about it,” Steve
1080 gets attention
Steve (left) and Clyde Graf, of Hamilton, preaching the evils of 1080 poison as
they see it to an attentive crowd at the Te Anau Club on Monday night.
The Conservation Department has no plans
to stop using the “Great Walks” brand
for its flagship tramping tracks, despite a
Southern region coroner David Crerar this
week released his report on the death of
Israeli Liat Okin on the Routeburn track
in May 2008. He found the inexperienced
tramper died on March 26 or 27 from the
effects of a broken neck after falling in a
rocky gully about 1km away from the track.
Photos from Ms Okin’s camera showed
she had followed an unformed, lightly-
marked track prepared by DOC staff as an
emergency route to avoid avalanches.
In his decision Mr Crerar notes he
recommended the Department of
Conservation review the branding of its
“Great Walks” tramping tracks.
“I raised with DOC witnesses as to whether
the expression “Great Walks” adequately
describe the tramping trip,” he says.
Inexperienced tourists, especially those
who spoke English as a second language,
saw the word “walk” and discounted
the serousness of the situation.The
“Great Walks” were serious tramping
undertakings in “a rugged back-country
environment, with unpredictable weather
conditions through difficult and potentially
dangerous terrain,” Mr Crerar said.
DOC community relations programme
manager for Wakatipu John Roberts said
the department did not intend to change
Whatever word was chosen to describe
the tracks – tramp, trek, hike, trail,
route or walk – carried the potential for
misunderstanding by people from other
cultures, he said.
More important than the choice of name
was the many sources of information that
were offered to intending trampers. People
finding out about the tramps had generous
amounts of DOC information available
online, then when they came to Te Anau or
Queenstown visitor centre to collect their
hut tickets they received a selection of
safety and information brochures, including
material in Japanese, Hebrew and German.
At the visitor centre each tramper also had
a one-on-one conversation with a ranger
and many trampers realised at that stage
that they needed to go and get more
“You can provide all the information to
people, but we always have a few who
choose not to take it up. That’s a case of
personal responsibility,” Mr Roberts said.
The suspicion that DOC staff were in
some sense responsible for Ms Okin’s
disappearance by either placing misleading
markers or by showing her the avalanche
track, had been cleared away, he said. Staff
had testified that they did not show her the
track, and Search and Rescue workers did
not see the place Ms Okin left the track as
a “decision point,” and found it unusual
that she had left there, Mr Roberts said.
Richard Kennett, incident controller for the
Wakatipu Search and Rescue group, also
did not believe the “Great Walk” brand
was an issue. The name was generally
well understood, he said. Search and
Rescue was not called to the Routeburn
very often, and call-outs were mostly to do
with adventurers “pushing the envelope”
or medical problems or storms. The
disappearance of Ms Okin was a very
peculiar and very isolated event.
“If we had a number of them I would want
to say something,” Mr Kennett said. “I don’t
see a concern.”
‘Great Walks’ stays despite coroner’s concerns
OF THE CORONER
DOC and others involved in outdoor
safety should promote the use of
personal locator beacons and subsidise
the cost of hiring them.
DOC and the Mountain Safety Council
should consider setting up a universal
check-in/check-out form for users of the
bush and mountains.
Federated Mountain Clubs, DOC and
the Mountain Safety Council should
publicise the dangers of solo tramping
and the advantages of being in a group.
DOC should re-appraise the signs on
tracks used by inexperinced trampers
and suit the signs to the needs of the
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