Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa – March 2022
Herepai is one of the most northerly huts in the Tararua Range, set in a small bush clearing above Ruapae Stream, and a launching pad for trips across the rugged tops beyond. It was built in 1980 by NZ Forest Service rangers Hans Kolinko and Mark Hunter, with assistance from members of the Pahiatua-based Bush Tramping Club. Unfortunately, Herepai Hut has received little attention in recent years and was in very poor condition.
Happily, in March a huge effort by Backcountry Trust volunteers – led by the irrepressible builder Steve Wilman – completely transformed the ailing hut. As well as doing behind-the-scenes organising, the BCT’s Megan Dimozantos was there on the tools as well. The rest of team included Fiona Burleigh, Tina Christie, Matt Falepau and Roy Rolston.
Kaweka Forest Park, Hawke’s Bay – 27-29 May 2022
Black Birch Bivvy occupies a pleasant clearing in the forest of the Black Birch Range in the eastern Kaweka Forest Park. The two-bunk dogbox-style bivouac was originally built by the Forest Service in the 1960s, and has provided an accessible place for hunting and tramping ever since. In May, a Sika Foundation team made some significant improvements to the bivvy to increase its capacity and make it more user-friendly.
The volunteers included Alex Dixon, Ben Gordon, Mike Main, Brett Stokman (lead builder) and Joseph Turner.
West Coast – 15-18 April 2022
Recent work at Top Waitaha and Mullins Huts by Backcountry Trust volunteers has breathed new life into these backcountry locations. However, both huts needed toilet facilities.
After Jane Morris secured funding, it was decided to co-ordinate the two projects. Colin Morris constructed the toilets, using a simplified design adapted from plans provided by DOC’s Tony Thrupp. In April, a BCT team of three flew in to install them.
Personnel were: Colin Morris (qualified carpenter), Roger Woods (former project manager for Fletcher) and Col Pearson (professional painter), all from Canterbury.