LandSAR Wanaka volunteer Gary Dickson (left) and police
search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Aaron Nicholson
feature in a new reality television show debuting later
this month. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
A new reality television programme which revolves around
search and rescue teams in Wanaka and Te Anau is "as real as it
comes", one of the show's cast says.
High Country Rescue follows police and LandSAR groups
based in the two towns on a series of dramatic life-or-death
search and rescue operations which happened during the
summers of 2009-10 and 2010-11.
LandSAR Wanaka alpine cliff rescue team leader Gary Dickson,
who appears in several of the show's eight episodes, said he
was "incredibly happy" with the show and its accurate
portrayal of what search and rescue volunteers do.
"We weren't acting, we weren't being any different for the
camera, although we probably toned the language down a little
Many of the incidents in the show happened in the Fiordland
and Mt Aspiring national parks, and feature everything from
experienced mountaineers trapped in dangerous weather, to
stricken mountain bikers and missing hunters.
Police search and rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Aaron
Nicholson said Wanaka was an obvious choice for the show
because of the high volume of operations in the area and the
variety of work.
"We have alpine, we have hunters, we have parapenters, we
have kayakers, we have canyoning, our skiing, our avalanche
issues," Sgt Nicholson said.
"It's every conceivable aspect of search and rescue ... we
cover the full gamut of operations."
The key motivation for LandSAR Wanaka's involvement in the
show was to raise the profile of the organisation nationally
and to educate people on mountain safety.
"That was why we signed up to the deal, not so we could be
movie stars. And that was a big selling point for our
volunteers," Mr Dickson said.
• High Country Rescue debuts on TV ONE, on
Monday November 26, at 8pm. A feature article on the show
will appear in tomorrow's Signal pull-out in the
Otago Daily Times.