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Hard yakka on the island

ontheradar August 15, 2012, 10:49 am
Raoul crater lakes from a chopper.

The Sir Peter Blake Trust © Enlarge photo


By: Michael Moyes

Tuesday, August 14
Latitude: 29o14 South
Longitude: 177o54.0 West
Wind Speed: Light & variable
At anchor, off Raoul
Sea State: 1
Cloud Cover: 9 octaves

By my count this is Day 8 of our expedition, but folks around here remind me it’s our 7th day at sea. I admit our first night safely moored at Devonport probably doesn’t count towards the tally.

As an Expedition Team Leader I am responsible for a crew of 12, self-named the ‘Raoulie Brews’ in reference to our island port and its intriguing facilities (a batch brewery at the Department of Conservation hostel).

The seven bright young people in my Raoulie Brews are Asia, Felix, Gomathi, Logan, Nicholas, Olivia and Ruahei. They are not kids. They are exceptional individuals with the qualities of emerging leaders. This is why I have come to refer to them as ‘expeditioners’.

I’m impressed with the maturity each has demonstrated, whether by mucking in on chores when required or by pulling together to support each other on some of the more challenging activities.

Yes parents, your kids have chores – those opportunities are provided by the Navy while aboard the good ship Canterbury, and DOC while ashore.

We do what we can.

Yes parents, there have been challenging activities – a near daily occurrence.

One challenge fresh in my mind is the walk from the DOC hostel across the island to Denham Bay.

This was described to me earlier as ‘a gentle climb across the island, followed by a quick descent to the beach’. I would describe it as a gruelling climb that punishes even the fit, followed by a dizzying descent punctuated by three knotted ropes to repel down the final approach. To borrow a recent film title, this was ‘No Place for Old Men’.

It was on our return hike that one young expeditioner was particularly impressive. When he held back to assist those that needed it most, he showed us he was a true leader. When he took the backpack off the last of us clambering up that steep ascent and carried it all the way back to the hostel, he became a hero.

Getting to know these young expeditioners, and being a small part of such an incredible expedition, has been a real privilege. I will, without doubt, return to Devonport on Sunday with a different perspective on our Navy, our Department of Conservation, our marine environment and our future leaders.

ABOUT MICHAEL MOYES – Expedition Team Leader

Michael Moyes is a Team Leader on the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadecs.

Michael is a senior lawyer with a leading NZ law firm, and is the Sir Peter Blake Trust's principal legal advisor. When Michael is not lawyering, he is a trustee of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Advisory Board for Kathryn Wilson shoes, and a devoted father of two.

Academically, Michael has a Bachelor of Commerce from Auckland University, Honours law and a postgraduate diploma from a leading Australian university, and a Master of Law from Kings College London. Also a pianist, he maintained regular gigs around Auckland and abroad throughout his studies.

Like many Aucklanders, Michael's formative years were spent sailing, windsurfing and enjoying family holidays exploring the islands of the Hauraki Gulf and beyond. It is this connection with the marine environment, and the inspirational youth leadership work of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, that drives Michael's desire to join the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadecs.

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  1. Greg07:26am Thursday 16th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    Hi Michael Moyes, Hope you guys are having fun. You may be interested to contact me sometime, my father led NZs first expedition to Raoul Is back in 1937. They went there to survey the Island as a possible flying boat base and to set up NZs first weather station there. They were landed there with their provisions on the beach and were left there for two years! They built the first hut, did a topographical survey of the Island( bloody hard Yaka II'd imagine), made tracks across the Island so future stores could be carried and initiated the first radio station contact. dad has past now but talked Raoul a lot. they found two people who had been living on the Island who's families had arrived there in 1878 ! I have photos of them and hundreds of others of the Island and the team also.I have their original old NZ flag and the original report also. he also did a similar expedition to the Auckland Islands south of NZ several years later. He was a hard fellow and had lots of great experiences and was very interesting to talk to

  2. 07:26am Thursday 16th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    I think that's "rappel", Michael, unless your group were setting out to be repulsive, which sounds unlikely. Remind us what the expedition's objectives are, please?

  3. adam11:19pm Wednesday 15th August 2012 NZSTReport Abuse

    ancient superconducting electric power generator


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