I've transcribed the photos I took of it for your reading pleasure :)
I have corrected some spelling (excluding the original poster misnaming Chamberlain Creek as Chamberland and Mangahou instead of Mangahao), but the sentence structure is the same as I could interperet.
I have no way of knowing when exactly the report was written up - and the author did not sign their name to it.
In the late 60's a scout party went missing on East Peak. The scout master separated from the other three scouts to find the route, but didn't return. The three scouts started to get very cold and decided the best thing to do would be to get lower down, so they dropped into Harris Creek (not know what side of the ridge they were on).
The next day they made it out to Mangahou dam and alerted the caretaker there. The next day a full search was mounted which involved the Police, Army, and Air Force, plus many tramping clubs members. A base was made at Bryant Farm and search headquarters was a caravan.Interestingly, underneath this account was another statement, from Phil Doole, one of the Venturer Scouts who was on the original trip:
The army put up tents and provided hot meals for everyone. The Air Force [unsure of word] helicopter only made three flights as the wind became too strong to fly.
Three search parties got flown in to various locations. The rest (searchers) had to walk to their allotted search areas. As the search proceeded the weather progressively got worse (N.Wester). High winds on the main ridge were atrocious.
It was difficult to stand up and even breathe facing the wind. Fine gravel was picked up by the wind and thrown in your face. Also we were soaked to the skin by torrential rain. Conditions were so bad we were told to go to Dundas Hut. Half way there we were forced off the tops because we couldn't handle the wind.
We made a makeshift camp on some bench above Chamberland Creek, south of West Peak. A tent could not be pitched so we tied the tent out flat and got under it. I must say I was [pretty?] comfortable considering the conditions. The bottom of my sleeping bag got wet, but other than that, all were well apart from not being able to boil the billy.
The next morning we moved off at dawn, and headed back towards East Peak. We finally got to what we thought was Ruapai Peak and made a radio sked to base. We were told to proceed back to Putara Hut as the conditions were too dangerous to search in. When we got to about Hines, the rain stopped and the wind was still so strong it instantly dried our clothes out, which helped to warm us up. I remember I was wearing two jupara parkers and soaked through. Finally arriving at Putara Hut, the hut was full of other search parties bulging at the seams.
The next morning a radio message called the search officially off, as condition were atrocious for searching.
Some months later a party found the remains of a pack and sleeping bag in Chamberland Creek. The scout masters remains were never found. It was said much later that he had serious health issues and probably bit off more than he could handle, also endangering the other scouts in the party.
Possibly the hard right turn you make at East Peak may have been mist by then and got them into trouble??
Some clarifications to the above account:The 40th anniversary of what came to be known as Operation Balfour was covered in articles in the Wairarapa Times Age and Wilderness Magazine in 201, both of which are worth a read.
1. The events happened in early September 1973 (40 years ago).
2. I was one of the 3 Venturer scouts with Ken Balfour. We were returning to Putara Hut from a bivy between Pukemoremore and Dome (we did not reach Dundas Hut the day before)
3. We reached Ruapae Peak (not East Peak) - confirmed by the pipe which is still on Ruapae. Hail & sleep, we couldn't confirm the route off towards Hines, Ken headed back towards East Peak. I dont recall why. We waited over an hour then had to make a decision to find shelter. We opted for the quickest descent into Harris Creek headwaters. Herepai Hut did not exist then, descent in the open over Herepai Peak did not seem like a good option at the time.
4. We bivied in the top of Harris Creek and continued out to the Mangahou River Hut and then on to the caretakers house at the dam, taking 1.5 days. The weather had cleared and at the time we had no concerns for Kens safety, thinking he would have made it out and would be looking for us (we were not due out until that day as it was a 4 day trip).
5. Finding Kens gear in Chamberlain Creek is a puzzle. Perhaps it was the Ruamahanga River, he may have come to grief in Ruapae Stream?