Ruahine Forest Park, Rangitikei – January 2022
High above the gorges of the lower Maropea River, at the foot of the Mokai Patea Range, sits Otukota Hut. It was originally built as shelter for deer cullers hunting the broad tops of the Mokai Patea Range, and now serves trampers and hunters enjoying the area.
The most direct route is on a poled route from the Mokai Road end (with permission from the landowner), which takes about 5 hours. Alternatively, Otukota Hut can be reached via a number of multi-day routes crossing from the eastern side of the Ruahine Range.
In October 2021 a Kaimahi for Nature team undertook an extensive renovation. All that was left was a new paint job and general tidy-up. Matt Short, Dan Fake and Greg Shirras flew in for four days painting the hut in January 2022, with paint generously provided by Dulux. Matt reported:
‘After a year or so of COVID restrictions, waiting for the renovation work to be completed and getting a crew together, we finally flew in late on the 13 January. With the three of us being keen hunters, the plan was to go as hard as possible while we had good daylight, then use the last two hours before dark to explore and hunt the surrounding area.
After unloading we divvied up the jobs. Dan and I took on the hut exterior, while Greg tackled the interior.
Day two involved more than 10 hours of prep work: scraping flaky paint, removing spouting and signs, and scrub-clearing around the structures where required. The more we looked for flaky paint, the more we found and plenty of rounds of sugar soap mould remover and scraping sessions were needed both inside and out. As the last task of the day, we managed to get the external priming done, and felt quite satisfied as we went for an evening hunt.’
‘Day three dawned and we did a final inspection before starting the external paint. By the end of the day we had two solid coats on the hut, and the interior was finished with two coats as well. Dan and Greg then took on the nice new woodshed while I started cleaning the long-drop, getting it ready for painting. The last task for the day was to have one last go at securing a deer for summer barbeques.
‘Thanks to Dan’s dog Sophie picking up a good scent, we spied a couple of animals on a slip and it wasn’t long before we had a fat spiker. That sure topped off the trip.’
‘The last day we cleaned up, painted the exterior of the long-drop and enjoyed our last few hours at Otukota Hut. All in all: a great trip.’