25 Jan 2017

Memorial plaque for Czech tramper on Routeburn

9:17 am on 25 January 2017

A memorial plaque has been installed on the Routeburn Track for a Czech tramper who died there last year.

Ondrej Petr, 27, fell from Ocean Peak near Lake Mackenzie on 28 July while tramping with his partner Pavlina Pizova.

A photo of Pavlina Pizova with her partner Ondrej Petr, who died while tramping in Otago.

Pavlina Pizova and Ondrej Petr. Photo: NZ Police

Ms Pizova survived alone for 24 days in the nearby DOC warden's hut before she was rescued.

Members of Queenstown's Czech & Slovak Club last Friday and Saturday retraced the pair's steps and put up a plaque for Mr Petr on a rock near the scene.

A memorial plaque on the Routeburn Track for Czech tramper Ondrej Petr  who died near Lake Mackenzie on 28 July 2016.

A memorial plaque on the Routeburn Track for Czech tramper Ondrej Petr who died near Lake Mackenzie on 28 July 2016. Photo: Supplied

Czech honorary consul Vladka Kennett said the idea was discussed with Ms Pizova and the pair's families and then taken up by the club.

She said the club members felt a strong bond with their compatriots and as they travelled the group reflected on what the trampers must have experienced and on their ill-fated decisions not turn back despite worsening winter weather.

"[At] pretty much every spot which was something interesting regarding the story ... [of] what these two had to go through, not only [from] a human point of view, but also a search and rescue point of view, and why they made the decisions they made."

Members of Queenstown's Czech & Slovak Club put up a plaque to Ondrej Petr who died while tramping.

Members of Queenstown's Czech & Slovak Club put up the plaque. Photo: Supplied

Ms Kennett said the plaque was commemorative for Mr Petr and his family, but also a warning to others that there were real dangers, even on a popular tramping track.

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