Hi Everyone,

Well it's mid week and the Bushcraft NZ meet over on Pirongia is now a good few days behind us.

I'd thought I'd jot a few lines to let you know what we all got up to on our first official meet up.

Well the weekend weather was predicted to be rubbish, rain on the Saturday and also on the Sunday.

Sitting in Hamilton on Friday night is was blowing a bit and there was a good deal of rain.

However Saturday dawned bright and I drove over to Kaniwhaniwha for the 09:30 meet up at the reserve carpark.

On arrival I met up with Nina and Shane and Shane's son Callum.. Ryan was running a bit late so we headed off at 10:00 up to the camp ground.

On arrival we set about sorting out a spot to set up camp for the weekend and get a brew on.

Shane had brought along a tent and eventually decided on pitching in the bush rather than the paddock Nina took over an old abandoned debris shelter. I found a good spot to set up a tarp and hammock.

At this point Ryan arrived and after saying hi he set up a tarp and Bivvy arrangement.

After set up we all got together and went on a bit of a plant ID walk around the area local to the camp ground. I know a few plants and some of the uses for food and Rongoa etc. We then had a brief look at fire lighting and went and searched out some less damp ( I wont say dry) fire wood.

A good working session on collecting and processing the fire wood got us some useable wood although none was truely dry.

Rather than use the Excellent DOC fire pit we shifted the fire to a central location in the camp area and eventually got it going although it was a smokey affair.

Ryan constructed a nifty tripod and we enjoyed some billy tea by the fire. As Dusk fell folk enjoyed tea by the fire but not getting smoked out! Shane shared around some of his sausages which was nice.

We also marvelled at Shanes diving torch powerful and expensive... But good for spotting possums. So we went on a possum spotting excursion clambering back into the camping paddock the stars were out so we searched out the 'Southern Cross' and the pointers and looked at how to find south. A quick check with the compass proved it worked!!

With the fire dying down folk headed off to bed. I spent my most comfortable night in a Hammock ever listening to the reports on the Christchurch Quake on my shortwave radio...

Sunday dawned early for some and I took a lazy option getting up and having Breakfast by 08:00

Ryan had been up early as he'd slept under a woolen blanket... This made me think a bit as I'd been nice and toasty in my Aussie army sleeping bag..

After breakfast we tided up the campground and ensured we left no sign of the fire.

We then headed over to Kaniwhaniwha cave where we all went through with Shane and Callum having a second go. A good hike got us back to the carpark in good time Nina left us as she had to get to work. I think we all agreed it had been a really good weekend and a good intro session for similar meet ups in the future.



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Sounds like a good weekend guys!
I think I would have been thermals in a sleeping bag in a tent!
I would like to have been there, would have been keen on checking out the river (the kaniwhaniwha)- was it nearby?

The river is right there, it follows the track from the road and goes around the campsight area. When we were there there were heaps of possums too, It would be a good place to practice setting snares. We also got 2 eels, One was about a meter long and smoked up prety good.

Wow you are brave sleeping under a woolen blanket, Ive been wondering if they are adequate for our sort of conditions?

Would be keen to join you guys next time.

Cheers, John


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