Manager cops on to track's potential

Malcolm Darlison is the new operations manager for the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track.
Malcolm Darlison is the new operations manager for the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track.

The new operations manager of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track wants to put the walk on the international stage.

Malcolm Darlison, former Tuatapere policeman, said his goal in his new job was to gain better national and international recognition for the Hump Ridge Track.

The people involved with the track over the years had done a tremendous job with a small budget and the track had received great support from the community, he said.

But it still had "huge development potential".

Mr Darlison, who began his new job in September, said the track was only 13 years old so did not have the history or profile of other tracks such as the Milford.

"So we will be really pushing to get more international recognition. We are trying to get the word out as much as we can, not just in New Zealand, but overseas."

He was exploring ways to advertise the track overseas, such as Chinese travel websites.

"The big push is to make it more economically viable and successful."

Last year, more than 2000 people walked the track, which takes in 62km of Fiordland from Blue Cliffs Beach to Okaka Lodge and then to Port Craig Lodge at sea level on the south coast of Te Wae Wae Bay. Mr Darlison, who is organising next month's Stump the Hump 24-hour walk on the Hump Ridge, said he was enjoying his new role.

"It's great, and totally different from what I have been used to.

"It's the first time I've been a civilian since my army days.

"I'm enjoying being around positive people and situations - it makes a change from dealing with some of the police-type situations I was used to being involved with."


The Southland Times