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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Such a tragedy!

The country has certainly seen a lot of water in the past day or so.
94mm of rain fell in just 3 hrs yesterday, over the North Island.
Whilst the rain brought relief for drought stricken farmers, it also brought tragedy. Today, the country has grieved with the families of the 6 students and 1 young teacher who were tragically drowned in a canyoning accident on an Outdoor Pursuits camp. In half an hour, the Mangatepopo River experienced a sudden increase in volume, increasing it's flow from 0.5 cubic metres per sec to 18 cubic metres per sec. The group were unfortunately caught in a narrow part of the canyon with steep walls, when the flash flood bore down on them. The 15&16 yr old students and their teacher were all from Elim Christian College in Auckland.

As the rain continues tonight over our land, our hearts remain with the families of those trying to come to terms with the enormity of a devastating tragedy. Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party summed it up well in Parliament earlier:

"I stand today, extending my gaze from the mountains to the sea, thinking of those who have lost their lives in the Mangatepopo Gorge, and their whanau.
Our tears flow as we think of the tragedy that has occurred within the Tongariro River, a tragedy which has dealt a savage blow to the families, the Elim Christian College, as well as the staff of the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre and indeed all who were involved in this tragic event.
No-one in this House can imagine the pain that the parents, the wider families and the school community must be feeling at this time.
The Maori Party has been shocked at the terrible tragedy that took place at the headwaters of the Whanganui River, a tragedy which extinguished so much hope and potential.
We offer our sincere condolences to those who have been affected."

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