Eyre Mountains / Taka Rā Haka Conservation Park, Southland, 8–9 January 2022
In early January, six members of Permolat Southland tramped into the hut, while the materials and tools were flown in by helicopter. The team, led by Greg Wilson, included Tony Caudwell, Alastair MacDonald, John McDonald, Annabel Newnam, and Paul lwell–Sutton.
Greg Wilson reported: ‘All this work was completed in two very long, hot days and I wish to give special thanks to the volunteers, as it was really too much to expect over a weekend.’
The work included: Digging a new toilet hole and building a new toilet built (none existed before); removing the old woodshed box from the side of the hut and constructing a new one on the edge of the clearing; installing a skylight in the roof to provide more light inside; removing the cupboards, bench and bunks; rebuilding the bunks against the far wall to enable installation of a stainless steel cooking bench (making the space inside this small hut more usable); removing the door and re-swinging it so that it now opens outwards; fitting a step and decking on the porch; installing a chimney cap and support stays; and affixing a steel fireplace insert to protect the crumbling concrete fireplace from further deterioration.
Since that weekend of mammoth effort, more volunteers – Wally Guise and Naomi Brooks – walked in to finish the painting inside and out. Altogether the Permolat Southland team put in some 185 hours of volunteer labour.
Greg adds: ‘I would like to make special mention of and pilot James, Mark and his crew from High Country Helicopters who were very helpful and provided exceptional service. Very tight access in the hut clearing made the job difficult, meaning James had to land some distance away and walk to the clearing to supervise unloading.
‘Tūātapere Outdoors and Hardware also worked hard to supply the materials in a very trying Covid environment. DOC and the Backcountry Trust provided permission, advice and funding. Finally, we greatly enjoyed the evening meals provided by Back Country Cuisine. Thank you!’