The 49 kilometre Wangapeka Track has five huts along its length, two bivs and one historic hut (Cecil Kings Hut). The mid way point is the 10 bunk Helicopter Flat Hut which started life in 1963 as a standard S70 NZFS hut. Over time it has been enlarged and modified to cope with the increasing use of Kahurangi National Park for recreation.
In Round 9 the Backcountry Trust funded a modest maintenance project for a retired building team led by Bill Barnett. As part of this it was also decided to reduce the bunks from 10 to 8 to better reflect the use patterns on the Wangapeka and make the hut a little more open and less crammed.
The team had great support from the local DOC Motueka office with the senior ranger Tom Young organising storage for packing up the materials and providing onsite support equipment like generators, ladders and working at heights kits. The local ITM in Motueka supplied the materials at 50 percent off and another local business generously donated the cladding for the new woodshed.
The first work party went in on the 4th of March for four days and completed the bulk of the work. A new woodshed was constructed by one half of the team on the first day. Piles and a floor were installed and the premade woodshed moved onto this and fixed to the subfloor.
New benches were installed onsite, and the roof ridging was replaced and the lead nails were removed. On the eastern side a rotten bearer was replaced and repairs made to this wall, and the deck was repaired with new piles, bearers and replacement decking.
The project was finished in November 2019 when the team went in for another five days to install some new windows to the repaired eastern wall to add some more light to the bunk area and also paint the hut inside and out.
All up the group did approximately 224 hours onsite over both the trips to complete the work at a total cost of $11,800.