Two tracks on Raoul Island in the Kermadecs have been dedicated to the memory of ‘Raoulies’ Mark Kearney and Mihai Muncus-Nagy.
Kearney’s Crossing is dedicated to Mark Kearney, who died on 17 March 2006 when the Raoul volcano erupted as he was collecting water samples from the crater lake.
Mihai’s March is dedicated to Mihai Muncus-Nagy, who went missing at Fishing Rock on 2 January 2012, also while collecting a water sample from the sea.
A dedication ceremony for the two tracks was held in March during a re-supply trip to Raoul Island. On the afternoon of Sunday 2 April, the team assembled to unveil the track signs and two memorial plaques honouring Mark and Mihai.
“Mark and Mihai are forever part of the DOC whanau and forever part of this most beautiful island. These plaques and track signs will reflect that,” said Deputy Director-General Science and Policy, Bruce Parkes, who travelled to Raoul on the HMNZS Wellington for the dedication ceremony.
Mark’s mother, Joy Walters was also able to travel to Raoul Island for the ceremony.
The walking tracks
Kearney’s Crossing leads from the Raoul hostel accommodation over to Denham Bay. This was Mark’s favourite place to visit during his time on the island.
“Denham Bay is probably the most spectacular part of the island. It’s a beautiful piece of track,” says Bruce.
Mihai’s March starts from Fishing Rock and follows up the short steep track to the start of the road leading back to the hostel. This track was the last one Mihai walked before he went missing.
A permanent part of the island
Raoul ranger Paul Rennie worked with the families to come up with the words and photos for the plaques. They will now be a lasting reminder for future Raoulies and visitors to the island.
“For the team here today it was a very poignant moment. They think about Mark and Mihai every day and these signs reflect that,” said Bruce at the dedication ceremony.
“It meant a lot.”
Bruce travelled back to Auckland on the HMNZS Wellington with Joy and he spoke to her about the ceremony and her time on the island, which included a visit to a viewing platform over the volcano caldera.
“She was able to explore a reasonable amount of the island. She had a fantastic time. She told me it was a wonderful experience and the DOC team had done an amazing job of looking after her, and that it meant a lot.”
Purea nei e te hau
E rere wairua, e rere
Scattered by the wind
Fly O free spirit, fly
Click the images below to read the words on the memorial plaques.