The daughter of anti-1080 campaigner Chris Short last night waited anxiously at the foot of Mt Tongariro for her dying father to end his protest. Short, 50, who has a tumour on his kidney and may have just weeks to live, decided to come down off the mountain after pleas by Ngāti Tuwharetoa tribe members.This comes only a few days after it was found a DOC staffer had been deleting negative references to the anti -1080 information, from a work computer, on the 1080 Wikipedia page.
Daughter Teryl, 20, was there to take her exhausted father home after his week out in the open. His wife Leanne told Sunday News that he was “really tired”. She said she wanted to “get him home and give him a good feed and a night’s sleep. I can’t wait to see him. It’s been quite an ordeal.” Determined Short, from Taupo, said he had been prepared to die on the mountain in the central North Island unless Clyde and Steve Graf’s documentary on 1080, Poisoning Paradise (an excerpt of this doco is provided below), was broadcast on TV.
But after a visit from high-ranking Ngati Tuwharetoa members on Friday, Short said he had decided to end his stand out of respect for local Māori.
Here are excerpts of the documentary that none of the major networks in New Zealand are willing to show:
Part 1 of the Poisoning Paradise
Part 2 of the Poisoning Paradise
Part 3 of the Poisoning Paradise
He said he had “achieved my objective and now it’s just important to not turn this magical place into a circus”. He added: “It means a lot to the original people of this area. But I will vow to fight 1080 to the end, I just don’t have to do it from up here.” Iwi did not want Short to end his life on the mountain which is sacred to them and which was blessed on Friday morning.
Leanne said she wasn’t angry that her desperately sick husband had spent so long in the cold and exposed conditions. She said it would probably be his last chance to be in the great outdoors. “I actually thought it was probably really good for him. He loves those conditions and being in that atmosphere,” she said. “He needed to go there.”
He apologised to the local iwi for any offence he may have caused. “I don’t want to upset anyone, which is what I have been told was happening,” he said.
Short turned down the offer of a helicopter ride back by Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper. “I walked in and I will walk out,” he said defiantly. It took Short three days to get to his protest site because of atrocious weather including gale-force winds and torrential rain.
“It wasn’t comfortable but it’s a very special place to be,” he said. Short agreed to give up his protest on Friday but spent the night on the mountain because he needed a full day to make the descent. He said the protest against 1080 had only begun.