Tararua Tramping Club

Te rōpū hikoi o te pae maunga o Tararua   -   Celebrating 100 years of tramping

TTC Vocabulary

List of selected terms from the tramping literature

Each definition of the following terms has been extracted from the New Zealand Oxford Dictionary (Derverson, 2004) unless stated otherwise.

This glossary of terms was researched and provided by Lydie Collard.


n: a tin or enamel cooking-pot with a lid and wire handle, esp. used for boiling water or other liquid over a campfire

1939 The Tararua Tramper March 2 On returning to the bivvy, we found that the girls had not been idle, for a large billy of stew lay awaiting its inevitable end. 1953 The Tararua Tramper March 1 A billy of pickelet mixture was being turned quietly into flapjacks. 1960 Most people found their way to the inevitable billy and proceeded to gather behind a large sheltering rock. 1968 Hills and Valleys January- February 2 John boils the billy and we wait. 1995 Bushcraft 48 Good billies are made from stainless steel or spun aluminium. 2003 Hills and Valleys March 3 The folly of leaving behind an extra billy was the subject of much banter and despite the prophets of gloom, the end result was not at all bad and was demolished in short time.


n: a small tent or temporary shelter

1939 The Tararua Tramper March 2 On returning to the bivvy, we found that the girls had not been idle, for a large billy of stew lay awaiting its inevitable end. 1955 The Tararua Tramper January 1 Then, in 1941, this damp, draughty and cold bivvy gave way to the familiar Dobsons III- at a profit of 10d. with voluntary labour. 1978 The Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club 50th Jubilee 1928-1978 19 Snow finally drove them to the shelter of the bivvy at 2.30 in the afternoon. 2006 Hills and Valleys May 7 Most of the huts and bivvies in the Kaweka’s have landing pads as the area is popular for hunters from near and far.

v: to use such a tent or shelter

2006 Take a kid outdoors 99 Rather than scout around in the dark for the markers with a brave but tiring little girl, I made the decision to bivvy in the shelter of some large rocks, and tucked my daughter into her sleeping bag for the night.

bush laywer

n: Rubus cissoides, Tātarāmoa, a stout-stemmed trailing shrub of Aotearoa that scrambles over other growth

1949 The Tararua Tramper January 3 From then on we followed a semi-blazed trail through a tangle of lawyer, supplejack and windfalls, sidling high up on the steep hillsides, and in one case roping down a cliff. 2002 The Tararua Tramper May As the Kiekie travel got easier it was replaced by tight second-growth, laced with lawyer. 2003 The Valley of Darkness Eddie quickly learnt about hook grass, lawyer and supplejack although these were less troublesome than expected.


n: a watercourse, esp. a stream or tributary of a river

1948 Moir’s Guide Book 11 About eight miles past Mossburn on the Te Anau highway the road will be seen turning off to the right and crossing a small creek into Centre Hill Homestead and thence following up the western bank of the Oreti River with the West Dome on the right. 1960 The Tararua Tramper March 5 And a pleasant spell while the billy boils, where a creek goes babbling by. 1968 Hills and Valleys January-February 2 We investigate further up the creek but there’s no obvious way across. 1970 The History of the Ōrongorongo valley and environs 35 In the early part of the century, the Eastbourne roading was not of a very high standard, in fact the road was latticed with small streams and creeks which meandered across on their way to the sea.


n: a bread baked in ashes in the bush or outback (Baker, 1998)

2004 MUAC Bush cooking Damper is defined in Baker’s Dictionary of slang as ‘bread baked in ashes in the bush or outback’. 2003 Hills and Valleys September 1 You’ve over-boiled the veggies and your damper roll is in serious need of a ‘viagra’ pep-up. 2006 Take a kid outdoors 69 The flour and water mix used in dough twists is not the real bushman’s damper.


n: level ground adjacent to a watercourse and hence of alluvial formation; such a stretch of ground as a source of alluvial gold.

1940 The Tararua Tramper November 7 Once down by the river conditions were quite pleasant and the dash across the flats to the station was made in warm sunshine. 1962 The Tararua Tramper February 5 The evening activity of the sandflies encouraged us to press on, so we continued up the pleasant grassy flats of the Travers River for a further hour an a half to reach the junction of Arnst Gully dusk. 1971 VUWTC’71 52 The gravel flats laced with the shining water stretched back into the distance, misty with the heat. 1986 Moir’s Guide Book 116 From the flats continue through the open tussock past some tarns and climb a steep scree slope to the pass at the head of the valley.


n: an eroded watercourse, an elongated water-worn depression, a (small) river valley.

1948 Moir’s Guide Book 16 Climb up over the head of a steep gully and reach the crest of the ridge, along the top of which a very safe and plain deer trail will be found leading south. 1996 Tararua Footprints 62 Here a gully running SW brings Clem Creek in 8 minutes. 1998 The Tararua Tramper We each had a copy of the species list prepared by the Wellington Botanical Society, so could tick off plants as we identified them, and make notes about their distinguishing characteristics, including their habitat, e.g gully, dry spur crest, bush edge etc. 2003 Hills and Valleys 9 In a gully clearing, we joined three team having a snowball fight in the 200mm-deep snow.


n: the water god up above who controls rain for farmers and good waves for surfers (surfing will be great—I've spoken to Hughie about it).

1962 The Tararua Tramper February 5 We cooked tea over a blazing fire and conjectured about Hughie’s capricious disposition. 1966 The Tararua Tramper January-February 2 Next morning, ‘Hughie’ returned from his holiday and ‘down came the rain’. 1977 One hundred years at Milford Sound 58 It would seem that old Hewe, the rain god, was not satisfied with his seven days’ rain but, as a parting gesture, made the day the last party spent at Quintin, a proper tempest. 1999 Classic Tramping in New Zealand 14 Huey has an evil sense of humour and likes nothing better than smothering the trampers in the worst of weather, tempting them with just enough snippets of blue sky only to later dash any hopes of a clearance. 2001 The Tararua Tramper We six were not to be discouraged from a day’s tramp by Hughie’s overcast sky, gusts and occasional rain. 2004 Hills and Valleys February 7 Not so this time, Hughey has sent it down and the track was muddier than is good for it.


n: a lightweight closely-woven cotton material used for making tents, parkas, etc.

1948 Moir’s Guide Book 81 The most suitable material is light-weight japara, which is a strong close-woven cotton, and this is usually proofed with linseed oil or similar preparation. 1951 The Tararua Tramper January 2 Five japara tents are being bought by the Club for use on high climbing trips. 1978 The Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club 50th Jubilee 1928-1978 68 A japara parker, bush shirt and waterproof peaked cap would complete the then fashionable outfit of the era. 2006 FMC Bulletin August 12 There were not enough food bags (in those days they were made on a sewing machine out of calico, or japara if you could get it, and dipped in boiled linseed oil and allowed to dry), so it was suggested that the raisins and peanuts could be put into one bag for the day, and when stops were made those who wished could sort the raisins from the peanuts, or not at all if they sough fit.


n: an Aotearoa climbing plant, Freycinetia baueriana, with edible fruit, and long narrow leaves used, esp. formerly, for weaving baskets etc.

1978 The Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club 50th Jubilee 1928-1978 22 The berries of the fuschia were not quite ripe and the Kiekie were not very plentiful although they found edible pieces occasionally. 1987 Buller Walks 15 The marked track struggles over a bog, enters the gorge forest of thick kamahi, kanono, tree ferns, supplejack and kiekie. 2004 Hills and Valleys February 5 I had my traditional problem with a fallen tree; clambering uphill along one side of its trunk, through the tangle of roots and kiekie plants at the top and then across the hillside, just to find that the actual track skirts the tree entirely.

Māori bunk

n: a bench type bunk (The Manawatu Tramping Club, 1978: 17)

1951 The Tararua Tramper January 1 A Maori bunk will run the full length of one 20-foot side. 1978 The Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club 50th Jubilee 1928-1978 17 Jack Sandman’s design for a hut, 21 feet by 14. to accommodate about 16 people, to have a large open fire place and a bench type bunk (known in tramping circles as Māori bunk), was approved. 1996 Heels 1996 Stripping off my wet gear I went in search of familiar faces and found Matt Johnston sitting at the back of the top Maori bunk. 2004 ATC Trip Report The hut was one of the best laid out we had seen-space for 10 inside on 2 maori bunks, a verandah and two cooking areas-inside and out.


n: a sleeping bag (Pickering, 2004: 17)

1971 VUWTC’71 49 And so it came to pass, three nights later on the cold gravel of a Kaikoura river bed, Colonel crawled into his battered arctic pit, clutching a bulging everest sock containing a bottle, full of boiling water. 1996 Heels 1996 I feel so tired I want my pit. 2004 A Tramper’s Journey 17 Sleeping bag were universally known as ‘the pit’ and to go to sleep was ‘to hit the pit’.


n: Aotearoa coastal shrub or small tree, Brachyglottis repanda, with large panicles of sweet-scented flowers and leaves with white hairy undersides

1961 Bush Lore 236 The fruit and vegetation of the pigeonwood, tutu, rangiora and ngaio trees. 1978 The Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club 50th Jubilee 1928-1978 22 The supplejacks and the rangiora made the going almost impossible in places. 1987 Buller Walks 6 The Heaphy Track is a kilometre away along the forest-fringed beach, where marram, carex, flax, toitoi, lupin, ngaio and rangiora hold the front line and coprosmas, kawakawa and nikau press in behind.


n: a tall and sturdy forest tree, Metrosideros robusta, which starts life as an epiphyte high in another tree, and is notable for its crimson flowers and hard close-grained timber (also called northern rata)

1961 Bush Lore 238 The northern rata, found south to the Buller Gorge, often begins life as a seedling in the forks of an existing tree finally sending vine-like roots to the ground and strangling the host tree. 1968 Bushcraft 44 However, those timbers most commonly used for firewood are manuka, kanuka, totara, rata, 1987 Buller Walks 3 Much has changed since Maori and early Europeans explorers tramped down beaches, swung on flax and rata ladders or took to canoe and flax-stem moki (rafts). 1998 A Tramper’s Guide to NZ National Parks 59 Notable for the complete absence of beech trees, the rata/rimu/broadleaf forest goes through marked altitudinal changes in Te Papakura o Taranaki. 2004 New Zealand Wilderness March 27 Go back, it’s the only rata bush more miles around.


n: a mixture of dried fruit, nuts, and other food eaten as a snack by hikers

1948 Moir’s Guide Book 88 The best quality of raisins, dates, nuts, etc., should be selected to make up a ‘scroggin’ mixture to nibble when stopping for a spell. 1995 Bushcraft 57 When mixed together and coated with glucose or brown sugar the mixture is known as scroggin. 2006 Hills and Valleys May 7 At a later scroggin stop I have never seen a group take off so quickly when a wasp was seen nearby.


v: to negotiate a steep slope by moving transversely

1949 The Tararua Tramper January 2 From then on we followed a semi-blazed trail through a tangle of lawyer, supplejack and windfalls, sidling high up on the steep hillsides, and in one case roping down a cliff. 1990 Tramping in South Island Forest Parks 170 Sidle south-west from the saddle about 1km to the Brass Monkey Bivouac, which is about 50-70 m north-west of the Brass Monley Saddle. 2002 The Tararua Tramper June After lunch we found it expeditious to sidle on the true right and the trip fizzled just a little. 2003 Hills and Valleys May 6 Got down off Point 1326 into Matiri Valley but with lots of bluffs that are not marked on the map, and heaps of bashing and sidling to do, false spurs etc.


n: any of various tussock-like plants of the mainly Aotearoa genus Aciphylla, with stiff spine-tipped leaves (also called speargrass).

1997 The Tararua Tramper December On reaching the bush edge we raged a brief battle with leatherwood and spaniard, but emerged victorious and were soon in open tussock. 2001 The Tararua Tramper July Once in open tussock our problems were reduced to sharp thickets of Aciphylla colensoi, Spaniard. 2004 New Zealand Wilderness 27 Breakfast is along the Gorge Plateau ridge, with tussock and giant Spaniards which haven’t flowered this year…


n: any of various chiefly tropical and subtropical climbing or twining shrubs with tough flexible stems, including the Aotearoa Ripogonum scandens

1949 The Tararua Tramper January 5 There was a certain amount of vegetation, but botanical enthusiasm wavers when classifying the habits of the lawyer, and the supplejack was also particularly obstructive. 1970 The History of the Ōrongorongo valley and environs 51 …which runs into the Ōrongorongo River nearly Jacobs Ladder, where a large supple jack hung for many years and assisted trampers in the descent. 1998 The Tararua Tramper August Michael got us through dense supplejack for about half an hour.



(a) the collection of possessions and daily necessaries carried by one travelling, usu. on foot, in the backblocks.
(b) (colloq.) a tramper's or hunter's pack.
(c) a bed-roll.

1928 The New Zealand Life Deeming it a somewhat precarious undertaking to attempt these slopes with our heavy swags, we first lower the packs down the rock face by means of a rope, 1948 Moir’s Guide Book 77 See that he gets a few tins of meat in his swag- if that fails there are usually plenty of stones which can be slipped in when he is not looking. 1971 VUWTC’71 30 …offering to help a new tramper with a hopelessly insecure, bulgy bag, secured with a strap, by way of a swag. 2004 A Tramper’s journey 5 A man carried his swag across the dry Mackenzie country, sweating in the late spring heat and dosed down for the night at Haldon station. 2005 Nelson Tramping Club Report Yes, with a sweltering afternoon sun, we carried our swag up without much fun.


n: (also swanndri, swandri) a weatherproof woollen bush-shirt or zip-up jacket, usu. with a hood.

1968 Bushcraft 56 For deep crossings don’t wear unnecessary clothing, especially parkas, heavy jerseys, and swandris. 1995 Bushcraft 50 A secret water-proofing formula applied to the short-sleeved wool overshirt, was a major factor in establishing the Swanndri legend for all-weather warmth. 2006 FMC August 44 For dry cool weather she tops with down, for damp weather her Swanndri, and even damper weather the Marmot.


n: (the tops) mountain or ridge tops; the highest parts of a high country station or farm

1940 The Tararua Tramper November 6 It was still raining heavily as we left the Hut for the top of Reeves via the track round the tops. 1962 The Tararua Tramper February 6 Next the party climbed along the tops south-east of the saddle and dropped into the head of the north branch. 1968 Hills and Valleys January-February 3 The weather had deteriorated all day and now that we were back on the tops the mist was with us cutting visibility to 20 to 30 yards, 2004 New Zealand Wilderness March 52 Here a well-poled route marks the way over the undulating tops, with increasing good views of the Mokai Patea.


n : a path that has been at least cut, often formed and marked in some way (Burton & Atkinson, 1998: 9)

1940 The Tararua Tramper November 6 It was still raining heavily as we left the Hut for the top of the Reeves via the track round the tops. 1970 The History of Ōrongorongo valley and environs 38 Another trapper …had trap-lines over Brown, where he put in the track, opposite ‘Kiwi’ hut over the Mukamukas. 1977 One hundred years at Milford Sound 14 If it is desirable to extend the present tracks, 1987 Buller Walks 7 An alternative route to Scott’s Beach from the Kohaihai Saddle is down the track to Fisherman’s Rock.


n: food (NZ & Aus colloquial)

1995 Bushwoman 53 If I lost interest on the way, or ran out of tucker, I could always walk out on the long Arawata Flats. 2003 Hills and Valleys May 4 ...would you like to share it through this Bush Tucker column (a real cookery corner...). 2003 Hills and Valleys September 1 Serious trampers tucker tips.


n: any of various clump-forming grasses, in Aotearoa esp. species of Chionochloa and Poa growing mainly in alpine and subalpine habitats

1940 The Tararua Tramper November 3 …and the yellow tussock wave…and the tussock toss in the icy air, 1948 Moir’s Guide Book 12 It is another twenty minutes to the bridge over the Greenstone River, which is reached by crossing the outlet of Rere and continuing down over the tussock with a fence to the right. 1959 The Tararua Tramper February 4 …the tussock reddening in the light of the rising sun, 2005 Hills and Valleys May 4 Once again out in the tussock, it was uphill to Salisbury Lodge arriving there at 5pm.


n: any of various shrubs or small trees of the genus Coriaria, esp. C. arborea, all species having dark berries containing poisonous seeds and leaves which are poisonous to stock

1948 Moir’s Guide Book 12 Sometimes an overgrowth of grass and tutu obscures the path which is still on the north bank of the river and presently climbs up over the slip. 1961 Bush Lore 236 The fruit and vegetation of the pigeonwood, tutu, rangiora and ngaio trees. 1970 The History of the Ōrongorongo valley and environs 13 Poisonous plants…some of the most common varieties found are…tutu, all parts can be considered toxic.

See also


Page last modified on 2022 Dec 03 13:00

Edit - History - Recent changes - Wiki help - Search     About TTC     Contact us     About the website     Site map     email page as link -> mailto:?Subject="TTC: Vocabulary"&Body=