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NTCA Aerial Rescue update by Johno Smith

Andy Mundell - Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hopefully the work by the NTCA inspires other tree climbers and individuals to do more in their communities and for the kids.

Here's a snippet from my diary: leaving the hustle 'n bustle of Auckland on Saturday morning I head north to the Northland Tree Climbers Association long-awaited Aerial Rescue Practice Day.

The location is a large lifestyle block (courtesy of Ben Howell, Northland Tree Works) framed with impressive Totara and tall native Kahikatea.

A cool river (I won't explain how I found out it was cool lol) flows alongside the banks lined with Sequioa trees. This river is feed by the well known Whangarei falls just a short five minutes stroll upstream and flows through a native Kauri block featuring an amazing tree-top walkway.

I find the crew, lead by NTCA originators Troy Alderton and Joe Cooper, immersing themselves in the art of Aerial Rescue.

Knowledge is being passed around freely, along with plenty of laughter and smiles.

Kent Thwaites from the Notable Trees Trust runs the boys through a tree measuring course and a few bets are placed!

It turns out the most accurate way to measure a tree is to climb to the top and drop a line to the base. This is then marked and measured. It takes a little longer but it is more accurate than using state-of-the-art forestry devices and trigonometry (which happens to be way over my head anyway).

We finish the day with a BBQ and the kids can be seen swinging happily in the canopy of the surrounding podocarps.

A great event with many new faces, I would say another successful day in the NTCA calendar.

After a quiet Saturday night watching the Warriors beat the Tigers (Whoop, Whoop) Joe 'n Troy take us out fishing on Sunday.

This turned out to be more of a fish feeding exercise but Lydia (Joe's other half) puts on a mean feed of kai which all of the boys smash.

Monday morning comes along and I am privileged to help take a class for Maori youth organized by the Ngati Hine Trust.

All the boys are from the local community, most of them having dropped out of school for different reasons.

Kent (Thwaites) and Joe (Cooper) are providing them with career opportunities, guiding them through the Telford Foundation Certificate 'In Arb'.

We talk trees, volcanoes and buildings and have an enjoyable time climbing large Poplars in Moerewa.

his programme has great potential and I can see some of these young men thriving in the arboricultural industry.

Another weekend up trees, up north with the NTCA. And once again I can proudly say the tree climbing community up north is alive and well, growing and diversifying at an incredible rate. Watch this space…

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