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DOC seeks information on Silver Peaks seats

Media release

19 October 2016

DOC seeks information on Silver Peaks seats

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is asking for help to solve the mystery of what happened to two bench seats stolen from the Silver Peaks track near Dunedin.

The seats were built and installed earlier this year by the Green Hut Track Group, a group of volunteers who clear and maintain the Silver Peaks track. The seats were first vandalised two weeks after installation and the group repaired them.

Last week a tramping group discovered, to their disappointment, the seats had been sawn from their posts and stolen.

DOC ranger Shay van der Hurk said the seats were for everyone walking the Silver Peaks track to enjoy and it was disappointing they had been stolen.

“Green Hut Track Group members, along with other enthusiastic volunteers, put their heart and soul into this track and they, DOC and track users are gutted about this heartless act,” Shay said.

Graeme Elliot from the Green Hut Track Group said one of the seats was funded by the family of the group’s founder, George Sutherland, who contributed many years of hard work to the track.

The other seat celebrated a community achievement; Trustpower donated funds in appreciation of the work by Dunedin walking groups who joined together to clear Dunedin tracks after a major storm.

Background information

Dunedin’s backcountry tracks are in top shape for trampers thanks to the efforts of a group of dedicated volunteers.

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Green Hut Track Group members help maintain the Silver Peaks track and other tracks near Dunedin, in liaison with DOC.


Green Hut Track Group volunteers carry out track maintenance in the Silver Peaks. From left: Geoff Gardyne, Chris Mansfield, Graeme Elliot, Dick Simmers, Murray Gardner.

The late George Sutherland formed the group in the early 1990s. George regularly walked in the Silver Peaks to regain fitness after recovering from a heart attack. Others, some also recovering from similar conditions, began to join him on his walks. They noticed the deteriorating track conditions and took on clearing and maintaining the tracks while out walking.

The group was named after a mustering hut removed from the Silver Peaks in the 1960s. The Green Hut site remains a popular rest and picnic spot.


DOC ranger Simon Alefosio-Tuck and Green Hut Track Group volunteers stand by their ride into the Silver Peaks. From left: Simon and volunteers Geoff Gardyne, Dick Simmers, Murray Gardner, Chris Mansfield and Graeme Elliot.

DOC ranger Simon Alefosio-Tuck says, "The work these volunteers do in the Silver Peaks and other locations around the region is highly valued. They are dedicated to maintaining tracks in the area to a high standard for the community to enjoy".

Graeme Elliot from the Green Hut Track Group says funding from the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium allows the group to carry on its track work.


© Scoop Media

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