Cops are right to defend pig-hunting family

It’s great to see the cops coming to the defence of the Northland pig-hunter who became hopelessly lost with his deaf daughter and asthmatic son while pig hunting in dense bush at the weekend.

George Barbaer, 40, his 13-year-old daughter Trinity and six-year-old son George Junior built their own shelter and survived on chocolate and berries for two days as wild weather pounded the region, according to NZPA.

The trio were found safe and well on Sunday afternoon after going into the bush on Friday morning, prepared only for a day walk in the Mangamuka Ranges, about 40km southeast of Kaitaia.

They wore light clothes and had very little food with them.

The NZPA report posted on the Stuff site does not say whose chocolate they used. Alf suggests to Whittaker’s they check it out.

Maybe they could broaden their advertising claims in the battle with Cadbury. “Don’t be a sucker – take our choc as bush tucker”. Or something on those lines.

But back to the splendid Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe, who led the search team and found the pig-hunting family after more than 48 hours. He said when they were found they were doing “remarkably well” despite being very cold.

“They’re used to living in this environment up here and they sought shelter at night and held it together.”

He did not think the trio were unwise to go into the ranges on Friday morning as the stormy weather was not forecast to hit the region before the evening, he told Radio New Zealand.

“On this occasion they got caught out by the weather.”

Alf heard Morning Report’s Geoff Robinson struggle to disguise his disapproval, when questioning Metcalfe about six years old being much too young for a kid to be out pig-hunting with his dad.

It was a bloody namby-pamby line of questioning, obviusly informed by goody-goody attitudes shaped in Wellington’s latte society.

But Metcalfe said George Junior was not necessarily too young to be out pig hunting with his dad.

“I believe they teach them very young up this way and that’s quite normal behaviour for rural kids in any environment I believe.”

The area the three were found in was very thick bush and even the most experienced of hunters could become disorientated, Mr Metcalfe said.

And after the ordeal?

The kids are said to have appeared none the worst for having survived two nights in bitterly cold temperatures in thick bush.

One aunt, Maria Speers, said Mr Barbaer was “a very experienced bushman and the kids are very hardy”.

Yep. That’s the way to breed good rugged Kiwis.

But you can put your money on some bloody grizzler demanding to know how much the rescue operation cost. Alf couldn’t give a toss.

Worse, we can expect howls for legislation making it illegal for dads to take their kids with them on pig-hunting expeditions. Alf will turn a deaf ear to them, too.

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