Lost but not forgotten in Fiordland

Te Anau's Merv Halliday at Mitre Peak in Milford Sound.

Te Anau amateur historian Merv Halliday has been on a two-year mission to ensure the 63 people who have gone missing, never to be found, in the wild depths of Fiordland, are not forgotten.

Even with Fiordland's growing international popularity, New Zealand's largest national park largely remains a wild, untamed and dangerous place to get lost.

For almost the last two years, Merv Halliday has put his research skills in motion to compile a tangible record of all those who have gone missing in the area and whose bodies were never found or recovered.

"Those of us that are involved in Fiordland know how unforgiving it is. In this day and age with helicopters of course, most accidents are able to be attended to fairly quickly, but that doesn't alter the fact that out there in Fiordland is 63 persons who have never been given the right of a burial or memorial or anything. I'm trying to collate that information," he said.

Mr Halliday's list goes as far back to the disappearance of Ronald Raymond, who went missing on March 17, 1882 in a boating accident on the Hollyford River near the Pyke Junction. The list also includes Scottish explorer Quintin McKinnon, who was last seen leaving Te Anau Downs on November 29, 1892.

While his list was close to complete, Mr Halliday said he wanted to put the call out for any additional information anyone might know about the 63 missing. Community feedback such as through his "Lost but not forgotten in Fiordland" Facebook page had occasionally been helpful filling in extra details.

Mr Halliday said the final list would go towards an informational kiosk at the Te Anau Cemetery, which would also contain a directory of those buried at the cemetery.

If anyone had any more information, Mr Halliday said he could be contacted via email at merv@teanau.co.nz or phone (03) 249-8294.

This is Mr Halliday's list of those people who have gone missing and have never returned in Fiordland, which comprises 63 people. Anyone who has additional information can contact Mr Halliday before he finalises the list for the Te Anau Cemetery.

COSGROVE, Kevin (age 60) and REYNOLDS, Nirvana Drew (age 16) 
It is believed their vessel, "The Governor", got into difficulty after its fishing net became snagged near Yates Point, north of the mouth of Milford Sound on Saturday 15th September 2012.

GORDON, Bruce (age 42) and ALLEN, Darren (age 37) 
Went missing 30th April 2012 off Secretary Island. Fishing Vessel "K-Cee"

MCAULEY, Andrew (age 39) 
Kayaking from Australia to New Zealand. His last message “I'm in a kayak about 30 kilometres from Milford Sound.” On February 9th 2007 New Zealand maritime authorities received his distress call off Fiordland Coast. 
McAuley lost his life within sight of the coast and only a day from completing his journey. His body was never recovered

SOPER, Colin (age 46) and LAURIE, Jeromy (age 28)
These two workmates left Pearl Harbour on 18th July 2002 in their boat "The Retreat" and it was some days before they were reported overdue. The whole of Lake Manapouri was searched eventually the boat was found near the lake outlet.

EDMOND, William Allen (age 47)
Lost, accidentally drowned in Lake Te Anau in vicinity of the outlet of Henry Creek on 20th August 1994. He was last seen earlier in the day in his kayak in very rough conditions.

FLYNN, Terrance (Terry) 
The Manager from Milford Sound Lodge was drowned in Lake Gunn 22nd November 1992. His dinghy capsized and he was not wearing a life jacket and his body was never recovered. Another four people fishing with him were rescued by Southern Lakes Helicopters with a scoop net.

MILJKOVICH, Goran (age 21)
Lake Gunn Motor Inn staff tipped out of kayak on Lake Gunn 16th October 1990. Body never recovered.

WILKES, David (pilot, age 21); KODAMA, Hiroyuki; KODAMA, Takako; ISHIBASHI, Atsuko; HASEGAWA, Shihou; TAJIMA, Hideyki; TAJIMA, Yoshiko
The fatal accident occurred December 30, 1989, when two Cessna 207s, each carrying a pilot and six Japanese tourists, collided over Milford Sound. One aircraft, Cessna 207 ZK-DQF with its pilot and six Japanese passengers was never recovered. The other aircraft ZK-DAX landed safely back at Milford Sound.

CARRAN, Daniel Ivan (age 28)
The “Loralie” was swamped by a large wave in Knife and Steel Bay (Fiordland’s South Coast) on 3rd April 1988. The skipper Roger Stuart Allan spent 19 hours in a life raft before being rescued.

HUNTER, Peter Francis (age 38)
Missing from fishing vessel “Bounty” August 8, 1987. Halfway between Breaksea and Dagg Sound. Vessel capsized in following sea. The other crew member, the skipper John Robert Stevenson rode the Bounty’s hull for 39 hours. He was washed ashore on Bauza Island.

BENNETT, Jacques (age 33)
Drowned and missing in Dusky Sound on fishing vessel "Zeus" on 8th November 1986. The Skipper Terry Jamieson, managed to get into a life raft and was rescued.

WHITEHEAD, Peter Robert (age 21)
Peter was an IT specialist from Auckland and went missing while climbing with a companion on Mt Tutoko in January 1985. His companion’s body was found at the base of a bluff but Peter's body was never found.

LEVY, Michael and ASHTON, Neil 
Missing on FV “Marenka” 3rd December 1982. In vicinity of Western Point of Secretary Island, Fiordland.

BRAY, Patrick (age 23)
On 15th January 1980 a Hughes 500 helicopter ZK-HPO crashed into Lake Manapouri at Supply Bay. The pilot Colin Kelly and his shooter Dale Walker survived. Pat was a gutter. On 21st January, Bill Black lifted the wreck on a long strop and hung onto it for 35 minutes before having to let it go. Unfortunately Pat's body was never recovered.

MORRISON, Edward James Sinclair (pilot, age 28); STUART, Earl Bloomfield (age 40); STUART, Elizabeth McGregor (age 37); STUART, David John (age 18); STUART, Alec Davidson (age 38); STUART, Rosie (age 37); HOGG, David (age 20)
Aircraft Piper Cherokee Six ZK-EBU went Missing 29th December 1978 on a scenic flight from Taieri (Dunedin), to Queenstown, Milford Sound, Preservation Inlet and then back to Dunedin. It was last seen flying past Milford Sound Aerodrome from the direction of the Sunderland Falls, out towards the Sound entrance.

CROSBIE, Rev Cyril Francis (pilot, age 37); COLLINS, Trevor George (age 50); SUTHERLAND, Gordon Grant (age 28); ROBERTSON, Peter Alexander (aged about 40)
Aircraft Cessna 180 ZK-BMP went missing 16 August 1978 on a flight from Big Bay, South Westland, to Riversdale. Although there was a large very thorough search carried out, it was never seen again.

CONNER, Paul (age 29) and CHURCHILL, Denis Winston (age 30)
The body of skipper Bryan Quinton Hamilton was later recovered. The above men were on the "James McLaren" which went missing off Green Islets, in the long reef area between Chalky and Dusky Sounds on 4th December 1974.

ASQUITH, Ian Norman (age 29); BANNAN, Graham Arthur (age 25); MAYO, Anthony Charles Walter (age 31)
This trio of hunters were drowned in Lake McKerrow or Hokuri Creek Hut area on or about 17th May 1974. Their bodies were never found. It is believed they were shooting for venison privately and Kevin Hallet loaned them a boat to cross the river on the understanding that he could purchase any meat that they shot. The most popular story seems to be that one of the men tried to cross the river to get to Kevin's boat on the opposite bank and was swept away, the other two went to try and assist him and they too were swept away and all drowned. Searchers found packs and a rifle on one bank with footprints leading into the river. The search was called off on 24th May 1974.

KEIHA, Kingi Arita
The "Westwind" was under tow by the "Isabel-M" when the the rope broke and neither the vessel or Kingi were found. They went missing 20th November 1973. The accident happened on the Northern side of Little Breaksea Island (at the Northern end of the Acheron Passage). 

ELLISON, Clive David (age 30) and ELLISON, Brett (age 17)
Both men went missing whilst fishing on the "Vital Spark" in vicinity of West Cape near entrance to Dusky Sound on 1st February 1972. They were out checking nets, when their boat went under. Their father, George and another brother David were on another vessel nearby, their bodies were never recovered.

HEANEY, Michael (age 25) and JAMES, Norman (age 36)
These two men left Milford Sound on 25th March 1971 in an 18ft cabin cruiser "Wirraway" (Aboriginal for Challenge) intending to hunt and shoot around the sounds. They told a friend they would be away about seven days. When they never returned an unsuccessful search was instigated on 1st April 1971. Their bodies have never been recovered.

SMITH, Terrence Michael Joseph (age 24)
Mr Smith, a surveyor, disappeared on a walk over the Wilmot Pass on 17th April 1966. Mr Smith walked into blasting area on Wilmot Pass Road. The Coroner's finding was death by multiple injuries. His body was never found, but bone and flesh fragments found a few weeks later were identified as being human. Clothing fragments were identified as being similar to what Smith had been wearing.

HULL, Linden McLennan (age 32) from Riversdale; FORSYTH, Leslie Arnold (age 33) from Balfour; COLLINS, Charles Joseph Keith (age 32) from Riversdale
The above men were on the 19ft launch "Kea" which sank in the North Fiord of Lake Te Anau on 18th March 1966. There was one survivor but sadly the above three men drowned and their bodies were never recovered.

DAKEN, Peter
Drowned head of Lake McKerrow 22nd Novemeber 1965. (More information required)

REISS, Oswald
Ossie was a German chef from THC and went missing on Mt Christina. An extensive foot search was instigated on 11th February 1964. It was not determined exactly where he may have been and his body was never recovered.

PETERS, Alexander and SCOTT, Keith Ernest 
On the night of 27th June 1959 These two men went missing when their fishing vessel "Seaforth" foundered in the vicinity of Puysegur Point.

SMYTH, Terry
Two of five musterers, mustering the remains of Davey Gunn’s cattle got into difficulties crossing the Hollyford River (opposite Jerusalem Creek) on 14th February 1959. Terry Smyth riding “Dick” (the same horse that Davey Gunn drowned on) and Alan Weir on another horse were washed away. Alan’s body was recovered but Terry’s was never recovered.

MUIR, James Davidson Wood (age 28)
James Muir, drowned 23 November 1957 in Lake Te Anau in a boating accident. He was never found. The body of his friend Alexander Dickson was found 150 yards from the shore near Blue Gum Point. The two men were last seen about 8.45pm on the Saturday rowing out to moor a launch about 200 yards from the shore. They never made it to the launch.

On 23rd April 1957 the "Gekeita" was reported as being at least four days overdue with two brothers on board. A subsequent search found the wreckage and the body of Athol Waddick on the seaward side of Coal Island. Cyril was never located.

GUNN, David John (age 68), known as "Davey"
On Christmas Day 1955 he nudged his horse “Dick” into the Hollyford River near Hidden Falls with 12-year-old Warren Shaw mounted behind him. The horse stumbled and fell, and both riders were swept away. Gunn's body was never found. Warren Shaw’s body was recovered and is buried in the Warrington cemetery.

REID, Jessie
Miss Jessie Reid went missing on the Milford track on the other side of the pass during January 1920.

McKINNON, Quintin McPherson (age 41)
On 29 November 1892 he left the lower end of Lake Te Anau to cross the lake on a routine trip to Milford. He was last seen sailing with a fair wind by a hand from the Te Anau Downs Station. It was not until 27th December that concern was felt for his absence. A search of the lake was organised, but, although his wrecked boat was located, McKinnon's body was never discovered.

BROWN, Mainwaring (Professor, age 33)
On the morning of Thursday, the 6th December 1888 at the head of the Disaster Burn, where the party had camped below a pass leading to Smith Sound and about 10 miles from Lake Manapouri, at an altitude of about 2200 ft. Professor Brown went out, just before noon and finding the rain very slight— so slight that he was not even tempted to put on his coat— remarked that he was "going for a stroll up the gorge". Several organised expeditions made exhaustive searches but no trace of him has ever been found.

Capt’ Robert Brebner, Walter Richardson, Carl Wolfe, and Edward Perry, who formed a prospecting party lost their lives when their boat “Try Again” was smashed to pieces on the bar at Martins Bay on 10th November 1887. Richardson’s body was never recovered whilst his fellow crew members are buried at Martins Bay.

RAYMOND, Ronald 
Went missing on 17th March 1882 in boating accident on the Hollyford River near the Pyke Junction. A trigonometrical and general survey party got into difficulties in a canoe in Pyke’s Creek when it commenced to drift in the direction of the Hollyford River, which empties itself in Lake McKerrow. The accident was discovered by E.H. Wilmot, chief local surveyor whom had proceeded in the direction of the survey party to inspect the work done.


There are no comments on this article.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now