Tramper finds his final rest in region

Last updated 13:00 06/01/2014

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The ashes of an English tramper who died after a fall in Nelson Lakes National Park will be scattered in the region.

The parents of Andrew Ian Wyatt, 41, say they have taken some consolation from how their son died.

"He loved it over there and he was doing something he loved," his father Donald Wyatt said from Cornwall.

He also praised the efforts and communication from searchers who were looking for his son.

Donald Wyatt and wife Lorna have been dealt a double blow, with both their sons dying around Christmas time, three years apart.

Their other son Duncan took his own life three years ago. "It seems he had a bit of depression, and that was at Christmas as well."

Andrew Wyatt's body was found on December 27 at the bottom of a 100-metre cliff.

His death has shattered his parents.

"I can't hold up," Mr Wyatt said. "I keep going to pieces all the time. I thought that much of him.

"We loved every hair on his head."

A radiographer, Andrew Wyatt had a Bachelor of Science degree with honours and had just completed a master's degree.

Donald Wyatt said his son was a "super guy" who had studied towards his master's while working, and had saved up for his "own little house in Sheffield".

"He's so clever. Everything was there for him."

Travel was a big part of Andrew Wyatt's life. He visited Australia twice, cycling across much of the country, including a trip from Perth to Port Augusta and up to Darwin.

Two years ago, he turned his sights across the Tasman.

Beginning at Cape Reinga, he set out on the Te Araroa Trail, the route linking tramping tracks throughout the country. He made it as far south as Arthur's Pass, then turned back so he could catch a flight home.

In November, he returned to finish the trail, this time setting off from Ship Cove in the Marlborough Sounds, the start of the South Island section of Te Araroa. He had planned to stay in New Zealand until the end of February to complete the route through to Bluff.

Donald Wyatt knew his son was well prepared, with an itinerary including spreadsheets and maps of his intended route. "He was not foolhardy."

Andrew Wyatt was last seen on December 15, when he left Blue Lake Hut.

The next part of the route, over the Waiau Pass, is one of the trickiest sections of Te Araroa, through rocky and exposed country with steep drops.

He was due to pick up a food package from Boyle Village in Lewis Pass the following day, and when he did not show up, police were alerted.

On the same day the Wyatts heard reports from New Zealand that their son was missing, they received a postcard from him saying that "things were going great".

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But on December 27, his body was found below Lake Constance Bluff. Police said the fall was unsurvivable.

Donald Wyatt praised the New Zealand authorities, particularly Constable Dave Cogger, who co-ordinated the search.

"He rang me every night for nearly a week. We couldn't have asked for anything more."

With all of their son's gear still in New Zealand, his parents decided to donate the money he had to Land Search and Rescue, as a way of saying thank you.

It was Mr Cogger who advised the Wyatts not to bring their son's body home.

"We wanted to bring him home and say goodbye," Donald Wyatt said. But due to the nature of the fall, Cogger advised the grieving parents that "it would be best if you didn't see him".

Instead, Andrew Wyatt's remains will be cremated in Nelson on Wednesday and his ashes scattered in the area.

Donald Wyatt said that if he and Lorna were "a bit younger", they would have travelled to New Zealand as soon as they could. But, at 77, he did not think their son would want them to put further stress on themselves with the long trip. Fairfax NZ

- Nelson

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