Kaimanawa Forest Park, Taupo – 24-26 November 2021
Oamaru Hut is perched on a river terrace above the Oamaru River, in the headwaters of the Mohaka catchment. The three-room, 12-bunk hut is popular with hunters, anglers and trampers alike, and is most often accessed on tracks through the Kaipo Valley from Clements Mill Road, or via the Poronui Access Route from Taharua Road.
Like most of the other huts in Kaimanawa Forest Park, it’s a Lockwood design, originally built in the Forest Service days during the early 1970s. While the interlocking wood design has lasted surprisingly well, the hut definitely needed a spruce-up, and happily a team led by Michael Main did just this in November.
Michael, a member of the Central North Island Sika Foundation, had previously worked on many other projects in the region, including a full upgrade of Cascade Hut. The rest of five-person team, also Sika Foundation members, included Craig Daw, Mike Wright, Marty Noakes and John Moreland.
Michael Main tells the story:
‘While three of the team with all the gear including a small scaffold flew to the hut with Helisika, Marty and I were given permission from Poronui Station to drive to the end of the farm and make the short 25-minute walk into the hut. It was good to have a vehicle close as if we didn’t finish the job after three days I had the ability to stay on.
On the first day, John and Craig removed the old roof ridge cap and replaced it with the new one we’d flown in. The rest of us prepared the walls and windows for painting. We were all soon onto the painting, and as the day wore on and became hotter it was a matter of moving around the hut to find shade. By the day’s end we had one coat of paint on the outside walls and the roof ready for painting. We had time in the evening to visit some of the Sika Foundation box traps and clear them.
Day 2 was an early start to finish off the traps before we resumed painting. After we got the second coat on the walls, we also tidied up the front windows. As it was too hot during the middle of the day, we left the roof second coat until evening. After a hard-working day in the heat, we all enjoyed a swim in the river.
Day 3 consisted of a tidy-up of small missed jobs, along with some more swimming. The roof paint matches the new ridge cap well, and the windows look tidy too.
A closer inspection revealed that the front gutters need replacing, which is a job I’ll complete next time I check the traps.’