Missing hunter curled up in 'pig nest' for warmth

By Katee Shanks

The hunter lost in Te Urewera forest for three days spent his last night in the bush curled up in a "pig nest" for warmth.

Siow Hong Kuik, known as Desmond, left his hunting companions on October 22 and was not seen again until searchers found him on Wednesday.

Speaking to The Daily Post yesterday, Mr Kuik said it had been freezing overnight on Tuesday.

"I found a pig hole [nest] and spent Tuesday night and Wednesday until I was found in it," Mr Kuik said.

He told rescuers and his two hunting companions he had urinated into a plastic bag and used it like a hot water bottle while in the nest. He told them he had also planned to keep the urine in case he needed it for hydration the next day.

"I think he was pretty happy he didn't have to," one of his companions told The Daily Post.

When Mr Kuik was found at 1.30pm on Wednesday, he told his rescuers he had kept walking because where he is from (Malaysia), there wouldn't have been anyone out looking for him.

He had with him a small block of blue vein cheese that he had been rationing and had decided to stay put in the pig nest after realising he was well and truly lost.

One of the volunteer searchers, who did not want to be named, said rescue teams believed Mr Kuik would have lived possibly another two days if he had not been found.

Described as a "really good guy" by search crews, Mr Kuik chose to walk out of the bush rather than be airlifted even though he was limping badly.

A helicopter was eventually brought in to bring Mr Kuik and a number of the volunteers out of the forest.

After an emotional welcome at Whakarae Marae, the search base, Mr Kuik was taken to Whakatane Hospital for a medical check before he, his cousin and one of his hunting companions spent the night in Whakatane.

Yesterday morning, before a meeting at the Whakatane Police Station, Mr Kuik was given a $200 fine for not displaying his vehicle registration. A quick walk over to the Whakatane District Council with his registration tag, which had fallen out of the holder, had the problem rectified. Looking a lot less bleary-eyed and clean shaven, Mr Kuik said it had been an emotional time for him but he was fortunate the outcome had been positive.

A professional cake maker by trade, Mr Kuik said his store, the Sweet Secret Cake House in Manurewa, donated many cakes for different causes.

"I'm more than happy to do that for everyone who helped out in the search, they were all fantastic," he said.

Mr Kuik was looking forward to heading back home to his wife and three children in Auckland.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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