Mistake Flat Hut was originally built as a standard NZFS S70 hut situated in the Rakaia catchment on Glenfallach Station, for use if the cullers were unable to cross the river. Once the culling had ceased in the early 1980’s, and the hut was no longer needed, it was loaded onto a trailer and moved to the current site in the Havelock Valley, to replace the wind-damaged hut of the same name. The hut is situated by the confluence of the Forbes and Havelock rivers in the upper Rangitata catchment, and can be reached by four wheel drive vehicle.
According to a time-capsule, written on the underside of the benchtop when pulled up during the latest renovations, the hut was lifted in April 2002 to have some work done on its fireplace and the stainless steel benchtop was installed. And the last maintenance the hut received was in 2013, when DoC replaced Tek screws, and fitted a large ridge cap over the lead edged ridge cap.
After a successful funding application made on behalf of the South Canterbury Recreational Sportsman’s Club, work began on the renovation of the Mistake Flat hut early in 2017.
The first trip into the hut, in January 2017, saw Mike Lagan, Rick Rutland, Zack Bennett, Tamara Bennett and their sons, Jack and Oscar Bennett, go up to the hut, remove the roof, and clean and stain the rafters. They also managed to fit some painted ply on the inside of the gable ends and above the pearlings, apply new building paper and refit the roofing iron, fit Pan flashing and aqua seal around the chimney with Kea proofing and chimney stays, and finally, paint the rafters with a top coat.
Another trip was undertaken in February 2017, where Mike was joined by Mike Adams, and rejoined by Zack, and his son, Oscar. This time, over the course of a couple of days, the group wire brushed the roof and applied a top coat, removed the bench, cupboards, and the shelf above the bench, which had become at risk of becoming a fire hazard, and repaired the drain hole in the floor under the bench, before assembling and installing a new bench and refitting the stainless benchtop. They also widened the bunks, repaired the windows, remedied a water leak, and gave the floor and exterior walls a good scrub.
On a third trip led by Mike in late April 2017, Jeff Hitchcock and Tom Shaw joined him in order to clean up and apply two coats of paint to the interior walls, apply a final top coat to the rafters and ceiling, and supply some new seating.
The final trip that year painted the exterior walls to complete the catch up maintenance
The volunteers put in more than 250 hours of work to the renovation of the hut and thanks to their efforts it is now looking ready to shelter visitors for a few more decades. Thanks also to Canterbury Longrun Roofing, who donated the Pan flashing and Aquaseal, Dulux, who donated the paint, and the members of the SCRSC, for all of their help.