Police say the mental and physical toughness of a tramper helped him survive a fall, gale force winds and cold sleeting hail in the Tararua Peaks.
Sergeant Peter Rix, Masterton Police Search and Rescue, said the 28-year-old tramper was airlifted out of the bush this morning none the worse for his nights in the open.
"It was great work too from the Police Search and Rescue and civilian LandSAR teams who found him," Sergeant Rix said. "The conditions were pretty bad and the guys were pleased to find him when they did."
The man had gone into the Tararua Ranges from the Kaitoke end at the weekend but slipped and fell near the Steel Ladder on Tararua Peaks.
Gales gusting up to 150kmh yesterday prevented any helicopter search so three ground teams went in from Wairarapa SAR, one team from Horowhenua SAR and one from Wellington SAR.
"The Horowhenua team found him at 8.15 last night. He was sitting on the track and was in remarkable condition considering he was looking at his third night in the open," Sergeant Rix said.
He spent the night with search teams at the Maungahuka Hut, about 30 minutes walk about from where he was found.
Sergeant Rix said the area where the tramper fell is very steep, and he'd found it difficult to get back up onto the track with a full pack.
"He stripped down his pack to the bare survival essentials. It was his mental and physical toughness that got him through.
All search parties and the tramper, who arrived in New Zealand from Scotland in March, were airlifted out late this morning.
Released by Kaye Calder
Wellington Police District Headquarters
Tel 04 496 3464 or 0274 373 020