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.
Mike Main reports: ‘On Day 1 we sorted all the gear in a paddock off the Puketitiri Road for Helisika to uplift in three separate loads. Ben flew in first to unhook the loads as they arrived. The cloud was low and we were fortunate to get the gear on site before it lowered even more. The rest of us drove to the Whittle Road carpark and walked the 40 minutes to the site.’
‘We spent the rest of the day trying unsuccessfully to lift and turn the bivvy around. After deciding to leave it as it was, we replaced the piles and secured the back. We dug holes for the deck piles, and poured the concrete. As the concrete needed to set overnight, we dug a new site for the toilet, and prepared the piles for the water-tank stand. We pulled down the fireplace at the rear of the bivvy, and re-installed it further away to allow for the new deck.’
‘The second day saw everyone keen to get on with the job. By late afternoon, we had framed up the deck and laid the deck timber. Enough timber remained for a small corner barrier at its highest point. Just before the tool batteries all went flat, we finished off a small deck table.’
‘The guys did manage one short walk below the hut and disturbed a stag not too far from the hut.’
‘To save costs, we had decided to pack all the remaining gear back out to the carpark. This meant some pretty heavy loads! It was a privilege to work alongside the guys from the Sika Foundation. Thanks Brett, Ben, Joe and Alex’.
Many thanks from the Backcountry Trust for a job well done. Mike planned to return in June to hook up the spouting and affix grip tread on the deck. The next job is to go in and paint it.