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New huts highlight Tararua’s assets

10 May, 2006

New huts highlight Tararua’s assets…and challenges

The Maungahuka Hut in 1962.

Three new huts in the western Tararua Forest Park are testimony to the park’s stunning views, its challenging weather conditions and a community commitment to recreation facilities.

The new (10 bunk standard) Maungahuka Hut built by Evan Mardell and James Coubrough of Wellington, has the honour of being the highest hut on the Tararua Range, replacing a hut built adjacent to this site in 1962.

During 26 days of construction, based in the old hut, the builders endured a day of snow, 20 wet and windy days (with winds reaching over 100km an hour on some days) and just six fine days, when they were rewarded for their efforts with stunning Tararua views.

“They did a really good job considering the at times appalling conditions,” says Department of Conservation Kapiti Area visitor assets programme manager Wayne Boness.

A working bee is being organised with the hut custodians Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club to complete the installation of the new toilet. The club is also working with DOC to produce an interpretation panel highlighting the history of the Maungahuka Hut and the Tararua Peaks ladders.

Elder Hut, a four bunk standard hut has been built by Levin builder Rod Feasey just below Elder Peak, offering expansive views from Wellington Harbour through to Mt Egmont – the perfect spot for a photo opportunity on a clear day.

The new four bunk North Ohau Hut, earmarked for removal under the Recreation Opportunities Review (ROR), owes its existence to submitters who urged DOC to retain it. As the old hut was beyond repair the opportunity was taken to look for a more suitable site for the new hut.

Work commenced before Christmas on clearing the site and putting in the piles for the new hut and a major working party comprising members of the Horowhenua Hunting Club assembled a kitset hut. The club raised the necessary funds through sponsorship, attracting generous donations from Pub Charity and Davey Hughes of Swazi Apparel in Levin, Quinn Buildings and Winiata and Anderson of Levin also donated materials towards the hut project. This is the second hut DOC has built in partnership with the Horowhenua Hunting Club and Levin Businesses. The first was Burn Hut in 2002.

“We appreciate the effort that the community puts into this. People are giving up many hours of their own recreation time to provide facilities that everyone can enjoy,” Wayne Boness said.


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