November 14, 2014 … shaken and stirred

Something different was promised.


Bound for Nelson from Tauranga, the bulk carrier, Inase passes Baring Head with the Kaikoura Ranges ain the background. This is the view from the sheep station where the drivers practiced their skills.


When someone is lost in the bush, or some adverse event requires police on the ground in remote places, the brave men and women of the police who are search and rescue specialists get called on to go to remote places. Helicopters are not always the right answer and then the 4WD vehicles come into their own. To lessen the risk of compounding the problem, the people who drive the 4WDs into hard places need to be trained to renew their certification as capable operators. Yesterday I was privileged to photograph a training session in the Orongorongo valley.


Pre-flight checks are important before you trust your life to these vehicles on difficult terrain


Since it was a police exercise, with trainers from both Whitireia Community Polytechnic and the Royal New Zealand Police College present, there were the inevitable forms to be filled, followed by some sensible checks before anyone took the vehicles out in difficult terrain. “Pre-flight checks” were done on each of the vehicles, both to ensure that everything was as it should be, and to familiarise the driver with the characteristics of the vehicle concerned. It is important to know for example where the electronic are, and where the air intakes are if you plan to ford rivers.


Practicing how to descend safely when the vehicle loses forward traction.


The next few hours were taken up with refresher assignments on various kinds of terrain, negotiating high angles, mud, and steep descents. These techniques were practiced by drivers on each of the six available trucks, with a wide variety of engine and transmission options. The technique for backing down a steep hill is quite different with an automatic transmission, for example.


Convoy up the Orongorongo River


After all the required exercises were satisfactorily mastered, the drivers then went in convoy up the very rough and rocky bed of the Orongorongo River. Definitely Bond martini territory though I found myself both shaken and stirred.  I know people who do this sort of stuff as a sport or hobby. It was exciting as a novelty experience but the few kilometres we went up the river convinced me I would not do well if it went much longer. It is necessary to be unbuckled to ford rivers, so I was bouncing all round as we lurched across boulders, and could not get the camera still very often to get good photographs.

wool shed

The old wool shed seen through a thorny hedge


One of our number got stuck in the river. Fortunately there were five other vehicles ready to extract it. When we finally came to rest back in the farm where it all began, I left these fine people to do their debriefing while I grabbed a shot of a historic farm wool shed.

As I said, it was definitely a different and memorable kind of day.


About wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures. This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Cars, Machinery, Rivers. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to November 14, 2014 … shaken and stirred

  1. David Coxon says:

    I know there area well Brian
    It is where I go to help out on the CCVC 4WD Club easy trips for new people, and where we do our driver training.
    There are some great views from the hills

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