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Government invests over $4 million in new huts

For Immediate Release 21 August 2001 Media Statement

Government invests over $4 million in new backcountry huts

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee announced today that following the Government’s recent Budget decisions on visitors facilities the Department of Conservation will be spending over $4 million on replacing at least 26 backcountry huts over the next three years.

“The recreational opportunities backcountry huts provide for trampers, mountaineers, school groups, wilderness anglers, hunters and others are an essential part of the New Zealand way of life. These groups have told me of their years of frustration at inadequate funding for recreation in the backcountry. I have listened to their concerns and acted on them," Ms Lee said.

"I am committed to the sustainable long-term management of recreation facilities, and the planned replacement of these 26 huts is a big step forward in achieving this goal."

The huts to be replaced are distributed throughout the full length of New Zealand from Motukawanui Hut in the Kerikeri area to Long Harry Hut on Stewart Island. Most of the new huts will be small (4 to 10 bunks) but will range in size up to 40 bunks. The new huts will cater for the full spectrum of backcountry use from small basic huts used by trampers and hunters through to alpine facilities primarily used by climbers and two Great Walk huts.

“The network of backcountry huts is a valuable asset which enables trampers and other visitors to enjoy New Zealand’s national parks and reserves. The planned replacement of these huts will ensure they are structurally sound and meet acceptable environmental standards in terms of public toilet facilities.”

In addition part of the $16 million the Government made available to DOC in this year’s budget to manage and upgrade visitor facilities means that most other backcountry huts will be brought up to standard over the next three years.

The majority of the huts will be tendered towards the end of this year, with construction of around 10 of the huts scheduled to begin this summer. Depending on the contract prices to build these huts, it may be possible for DOC to add some additional small huts to the replacement list.

“The planned replacement of these huts is a major undertaking. The remote locations involved adds to the construction expense with equipment and materials having to be transported by either boat or helicopter, depending on the site. Building a hut on public conservation land also requires careful consideration of environmental factors and public safety issues,” Ms Lee said.

The full list of huts to be replaced is as follows:

- Motukawanui – Northland. (NB DOC is working with iwi and the community to preserve the existing hut as a place to interpret the island’s history)
- Hauhungaroa Hut – Pureora Forest Park
- Waihohonu – Tongariro National Park
- Waiopaoa – Lake Waikaremoana
- Puteore, Tahupo – Wanganui
- Waiopehu, Totara Flats, Elder – Tararua Forest Park, Wellington
- Karamea Bend, Bushline/Sylvester, Trevor Carter/Luna (Kahurangi National Park) and Sabine, Upper Travers, (Nelson Lakes National Parks)
- Mueller, Plateau (Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park), Lagoon Saddle, Crow, Trust/Poulter (Craigeburn Forest Park and Arthur’s Pass National Park), Nina (Lake Sumner Forest Park) – Canterbury
- Dillons (Taipo Valley), Bucklands (Paparoa Range), Carroll (Arthur’s Pass National Park) – West Coast
- Dart (Mt Aspiring National Park), Mid-Greenstone (Greenstone Valley) – Otago
- Long Harry – Stewart Island


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