In April 2007, Lynette Hartley led a band of seven male CTC trampers on a multiday trip to Mt Titiroa, South of Lake Manapouri. This is the story of that trip, as told by Susan Pearson and Richard Lobb, with stage management and multimedia support from Kerrie Skinner and with choral accompaniment from the entire audience ...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: a Grimm Tale In Deed

Once upon a time a long time ago, well at least as long ago as April this year, eight doughty CTC trampers set out for Mt Titiroa. They were Andy, Daley, Jeffy, Richie, Stevie, Tommy, Walty and their intrepid leader Snow White. The seven dwarves were so in thrall of Snow White (did I mention she was the fairest in all the land?) that they rushed to obey her every command.

"Walk around the lake" she ordered Andy, Daley, Richie, Tommy and Walty and immediately they set out around the shores of beautiful Lake Manapouri to Hope Arm Hut singing as they went.

HI HO, HI HO, It's round the lake we go.

She commanded her most dutiful dwarves: Jeffy and Stevie to "Kayak with me across the lake", so instantly they cast kayaks into the water and paddled for all they were worth to Hope Arm Hut, of course singing.

HI HO, HI HO, A paddling we will go.

The next day dawned wondrous fair, and Snow White's voice rang loud to her seven companions: "Tramp to Titiroa". So tramp, tramp, tramp they went until the glistening peak of Titiroa rose before them. "Up this ridge here", called Snow White. "Are you sure there's not a better way?" ventured some dwarvish voices. Snow White drew herself up to her full height, stamped her feet in fearsome wrath and cried: "I'm the leader and we go up HERE". So up there they went, singing:

HI HO, HI HO, It's up the mount we go.

In no time at all, (well only a few long and gruelling hours anyway), they had set up camp on the slopes of the gleaming mountain and were racing for its summit.

Standing on the summit in the evening sun, surveying the wondrous shining marble pillars, glistening tarns with improbable white sandy beaches, the Fijordland Mountain backdrop and the distant tapestry of Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau, the seven dwarves could only marvel at the sheer genius of their great leader, Snow White, to have led them to such a magic spot. Not only was she the fairest in all the land, she was also clearly destined to be the greatest leader of all times.

But alas, fate had other plans for poor Snow White ...

'tis but two days later. A damp and threatening dawn greets Snow White and her tramping troops as they prepare to return from Hope Arm Hut to Manapouri and thence onwards towards Christchurch. Then it happens. Snow White's head snaps back, her eyes open wide and the fateful words fall from her rosy red lips.

"I know", she cries, "why don't Jeffy, Stevie and I kayak to the South Arm of Manapouri?"

HI HO, HI HO, The wrong way we shall go.

Leaping to her feet, clapping her hands with joy, she elaborates further. "Yes, that's right, Andy, Daley, Richie, Tommy and Walty can walk back to Manapouri, pick up the cars and trucks, and drive around to South Arm to pick us up. It's only a couple of hours drive, with great scenery on the way, they'll love it."

And so it came to pass that Jeffy, Stevie and Snow White paddled off under glowering skies not towards the sanctuary of Manapouri but towards the distant wilderness of Manapouri's South Arm.

Meanwhile her other five faithful dwarves stolidly tromp their way back towards Manapouri singing as they go:

HI HO, HI HO, It's back to town we go.

There they pick up the car and truck and drive for an hour along deteriorating back country roads until they reach remote Borland Lodge singing:

HI HO, HI HO, It's thru' the Wops we go.

Following Snow White's instructions, they leap from the truck and enter the lodge.

"Hi, we've come for the key to the road to South Arm", they announce.

"You've what?!" says the Borland Lodge owner (who bears a remarkable resemblance to a woodcutter). "The road's closed. There's a big slip and a trench, wide and deep which would swallow you and your truck whole"

"Alas alack! We are commanded to pick up our lovely Snow White", cry the dwarves.

"Well, you're not going to do it by road" says the woodcutter.

The dwarves sing

HI HO, HI HO, Now what are we to do?

"Be off with you now, you've wasted enough of my time. Its clear as day what you should do, you'll have to hire a boat", says the woodcutter.

So, the downcast and dejected dwarves drive back along the wild and windy road to Manapouri. In Manapouri they find a friendly ferryman who for the princely sum of 300 crowns (well dollars actually) agrees to venture out across the lonely lake on the quest to save stranded Snow White.

They cross the lake singing:

HI HO, HI HO, To the rescue, tally ho!.

As the end of South Arm hoves into sight, the five fearless finders are relieved to see kayaks on the beach. But ... where oh where are Snow White and her paddling pals?

There is Silence on the beach. Nothing moves. Restless Richie hops ashore and scurries about, searching frantically up and down the beach for his elusive leader and her lacklustre larrikins. What could have happened? How long can they wait? When did the ferryman have to be home for his tea?

T'was too much for wracked Richie, who, desperately determined to delay departure, hid behind a bush on shore. Was their heroic rescue to be in vain after all their efforts?

BUT NO! Only happy endings are allowed at breakfast time

And so it came to pass that 1 long hour later Snow White, Jeffy and Stevie returned to the beach to be reunited with their brave buddies.

Snow White was not destined to be the greatest leader of all times -- just a nicer one with her name on a handsome wooden toilet seat.

And so they all lived happily ever after. Except for being half a day late and $300 poorer that is.