It’s great to see that Kevin and Jamie will be on-screen again soon, with Intrepid New Zealand: effectively the third season of what was previously First Crossings. The facebook page also has up-to-date info.
In previous seasons of First Crossings, Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald have re-enacted many of the significant early adventurers’ expeditions into New Zealand’s back-country and other places. At times I’ve wished they’d take a step back from the characters and been clearer to viewers during the show about their re-enactments, but it’s still a great show to watch. Despite that fault (in my eyes), I find the show much less patronising than some others which purport to represent the outdoor environment.
Presently, for people in New Zealand, all 8 episodes of last year’s season two are still available for viewing, via TVNZ Ondemand. [Update 1-Oct-2014: Intrepid NZ screens Wednesday nights on TV1, starting tonight.]
In the upcoming episodes of Intrepid New Zealand, I’ve been especially looking forward to their re-enactment of the Sutch Search in the Tararua Range, which I researched from old newspaper clippings and wrote about several years ago (part 1). Also see part 2 and part 3.
This particular 1933 event was triggered by four trampers who went missing for 2 weeks in the Tararua Range during atrocious weather, with moderate injuries between them and very few provisions, before eventually walking out themselves. The search effort directly involved roughly 200 people, pioneered the use of radio communications and aeroplanes. The effort met ongoing logistical problems which had never previously been encountered, and much of the methodology for coordinating such a task had to be developed as they went along.
The aftermath of the event left much new experience for analysis and discussion, generated vigorous public debate about the responsibilties between those who visit the outdoors and those who search for them, and ultimately it was a key chapter in the development of New Zealand’s voluntary Land Search and Rescue service, now known as LandSAR. For these reasons, it’s one of my favourite outdoor stories, also helped by the event being located in the midst of one of my favourite tramping back-yards. I’d imagine Kevin and Jamie would mostly focus on the problems faced by the tramping party, which was also an interesting story, but I hope the re-enactment does the whole event some justice. 🙂