New seat has special meaning

Have you noticed a new seat along the Lake2Lake Trail? It’s at the Control Gates and has been placed there in memory of the late James ‘Jim’ Muir, who went missing in Lake Te Anau in 1957.

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A lasting memorial to a former Waikaka man now sits along the Lake2Lake trail, overlooking the very spot he where was presumed drowned in Lake Te Anau in 1957.

James ‘Jim’ Muir was one of two men who were involved in a boating accident near Blue Gum Point in 1957. The body of the other man, Alexander Dickson, was found some days after the accident, however Mr Muir was never found.

While his name features on a memorial board at Te Anau’s Lynwood Cemetery, now, a timber seat memorialises him, sitting nearby the Waiau River Control Gates, overlooking Blue Gum Point.

Newspaper clippings at the time say the pair went out in a dinghy and were rowing out to moor a launch about 200 yards from the edge of the lake, at about 8.45pm on the Saturday evening. They never returned. The dinghy was found near the control gates, while Mr Dickson’s body was recovered some days later. Mr Muir, just 28 at the time, was never found.

When his son, Ashley MacGregor – who was just 13 months old at the time of his father’s passing – saw an opportunity to have a seat built in his father’s memory, he felt it was the ideal chance to recognise his late father.

“I like the Te Anau area, and when the (opportunity of) the seat came up, it was as if it was supposed to be. Dad has never had a headstone, so the seat is recognition for him.”

Mr MacGregor and family members visited Te Anau recently and saw the seat, which they felt was in the ideal position.

The seats are an initiative of the Fiordland Trails Trust, who develop and maintain the Lake2Lake multi-use trail from Te Anau to Manapouri. The Trust builds and installs the seats, including the plaques, as a fundraiser, but also as an opportunity for people, like Mr MacGregor, to create something special and lasting along the trail.

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