Arthur’s Pass National Park, West Coast – November 2022 & March 2023
Upper Deception Hut is a classic six-bunk, ex-Forest Service deer-culling hut, located in the headwaters of the Deception River. The hut sees quite a bit of traffic, lying as it does on the popular tramping route over Goat Pass, part of Te Araroa, which is also the route of the famous Coast-to-Coast adventure race.
Despite the amount of use the hut gets, it had not seen a lot of maintenance in recent years, and become quite run-down – not helped by a leaking chimney, which caused the floor to rot. Happily, the hut got some welcome attention recently, thanks to the Kaimahi for Nature (Jobs for Nature) programme.
The KFN-funded team was led by the irrepressible Matt Hewat. The team rest of the team included Luke Bignold, George Bithray, Hamish Cochrane and Zach Santich. Their work was greatly assisted by a generous $5,000 donation from Robert Birks, which came through the New Zealand Nature Fund.
Matt Hewat and his team flew in during November 2022, when they completed the bulk of the work. This included patching the floor, replacing the rusty part of the chimney, reframing half the hut (due to rot damage), installing new windows and a ply interior, and re-roofing. The hut also got a new woodshed. Altogether, quite the makeover!
Unfortunately the weather wasn't conducive for painting. Fast-forward to March 2023, and the team got the weather window they needed to finish off the upgrade.
Anderson Helicopters provided efficient transport for crew and materials alike, and managed to coordinate with another team working at Dunns Creek Hut, located a few miles west.
Upper Deception and Dunns Creek were the 27th and 28th huts respectively to receive much-needed attention through the government’s Kaimahi for Nature Fund, which began in 2020.
Next on the KFN agenda is Mid Wairoa Hut, located in Nelson’s Mt Richmond Forest Park, which also happens to be an important shelter on Te Araroa.