Te Anau Blue Light consists of local police, Te Anau’s local youth worker and a couple of volunteers, including Bard Crawford, who has guided for the Hollyford Track over the past 10 years. The aim of Blue Light in NZ and Australia is to foster positive relationships between youth in the community and police. Their approach in Te Anau is to spend time with kids from 13yrs to 18yrs in the outdoors. They have previously taken them fishing for a couple of days in Doubtful Sound, and for two years now have taken a group into Martins Bay!
Bard Crawford tells us about their recent excursion, where they took 9 boys into Martins Bay (2 of whom had never even spent time in the outdoors!) ….
…..“There was a lot of excitement around this trip and Te Anau locals all offered to help. Friends of the Black Dog bar and the Fiordland Cinema offered fuel, transport and ammunition (for the rifles) to help support the trip. The generosity of Ngai Tahu Tourism (NTT) is what has made this trip possible.
We drove into the Hollyford Road End and caught a ride on the Hollyford Track coach to Milford. Milford Helicopters flew us directly in to Martins Bay Lodge and Hollyford Track’s jet boat driver, Chris Hansen, then transported us to Martins Bay DOC Hut where we would be staying for two nights. We arrived at low tide, so after dropping off our gear at the hut, we grabbed wetsuits and headed to Long Reef for a snorkel!
Whilst the swell had picked up, this didn’t deter two of the boys (Max Crawford and Josh Bolger ) who still got in the water with local policeman - Eaun White. They managed to get a good feed of kina and we all had a munch on the rocks. This was the first time most of the boys had tasted kina - and I think it might be the last for some!
Later in the day we walked through to Flax Creek and tidied up a section of track that the guided walkers find challenging. This was our way of saying thanks to DOC for free use of the hut and also to NTT for helping out. 9 young men and 3 older men with saws, picks and shovels got through the mahi with speed.
The late evening was spent swimming and fishing. Two big kahawai were landed and promptly consumed. The boys loved cranking the fire and cooking their fish in the coals.
I took 3 boys for a walk up Jerusalem Creek in the evening and just before dark we spotted two deer, which were soon to become dinner!
The next day was wet so we had a slow start to the day and collected heaps of firewood for the hut before going for another snorkel. The same boys got back in the water at one of my secret spots, and in rough conditions managed to get a good feed of paua and a sack of mussels.
It was great to eat more wild food for dinner that night. After dinner we took the boys for a walk to show them what green food we can eat in the bush.
The next day we were up early to clean the hut and to get ready for our pick up from the Hollyford Track jet boat driver at 7am. We cruised up to the Pyke River confluence and then walked out to the road end in 5 hours, where our transport was waiting.
Typical teenagers…when I asked them all if they had a had a good time I think all 9 of them shrugged their shoulders and grunted! In the following days, all parents came to see me to say that their boys were still talking about it and had a blast!!
For me, having worked a lot in the valley it was great to go in with these young men and just cruise. A lot more tiring than a 3 day guided trip but equally as much fun!