Raro bush grabs Kiwi walker’s heart

Monday August 29, 2016 Written by Published in Environment
Brian Trotter loves the bush on Rarotonga. 16082646 Brian Trotter loves the bush on Rarotonga. 16082646

KIWI BRIAN Trotter is a walker and he loves getting out and about wherever he is.


At home in Papamoa Beach on the North Island’s east coast he walks 40 to 50 kilometres a week, including a daily tramp up the Papamoa Hills.

Trotter reckons it is his walking that has saved him from a close-run - and tough - battle with cancer.

Six-and-a-half years ago Trotter was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. When surgeons operated they took it out and 65 per cent of his stomach.

“I dropped down from 105kg to 53kg.

“They said I could have five good years left and I’m still here.”

And he’s looking good on it. Trotter is whippet thin, no doubt in part to his former illness, but also due to his rigorous exercise routine.

On Rarotonga for a holiday the 66-year-old has taken to the local bush and mountains with a passion and loves what he is finding.

His first day was spent hiring a bike and going for a climb up Te Manga. “It took about four hours there and back.

“That was the dangerous one and that’s where I met the dog.”

Days later Trotter is still astonished by his chance encounter with one of the island’s dogs.

“I went up the road and pulled up where the water storage is and this dog just came out of nowhere.

“I said ‘Geez, that’s a big mongrel looking dog.’ It came up and sat beside me and looked at me. I walked across the river and headed up the bush and he followed me up and then he took off and gave another dog a hiding.

“Then he come out and he led me all the way right up to the bottom of the hill - the last great big  nob - where you need to pull yourself up.

“I got up there and spent about three quarters of an hour up there and on the way up I met two young lads and I said ‘is that your dog down there?’.

“They said ‘nah’, I said ‘he’s followed me up here’ and they just laughed.

“I noticed the dog when I was climbing up the ropes and when I got on the other side it was waiting for me.  And I thought how the hell did he get up there? Cunning little bugger.

“It didn’t get up to the last one, but on the way back I met two other climbers. I started talking to them and then heard this dog barking … way down the gully as I got down the bottom of the hill there’s the dog.

“I said ‘ah well take me home boy’ and that dog took me the short cut home.  

“Every time I’d go off the track it would stand there and give a little whimpering noise. When I got to the end it shot off into the bush. 

“I was just amazed at that dog. The dogs here are friendly. If you walk around home – in Papamoa -they bark at you.”

If he has a slight issue with the walks around Rarotonga it’s that he reckons they need to be cleaned up a little to become more defined.

“I’m an experienced tramper, but the tracks here could be a wee bit more marked out.

“At home we have days at the tramping groups and we form up and clean tracks up. They’re not well marked here.”

But he loves the local flora and fauna. “I’m real amazed with the lizards. And they haven’t got any lilacs that will cut you to pieces. There’s no prickly stuff, it’s very nice bush to walk in.”

Trotter is planning to walk across the island during his stay, if the current wet weather pemits.

Will he return to Rarotonga?

“If I don’t get to climb all the hills I will be.”

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