Richard Shields contacted the Backcountry Trust back in February 2020 to say that he and some friends were visiting the South Island and were keen to pitch in as a group to do some volunteer work on a hut. His timing was perfect as we had just been starting to explore some 'paint a hut' projects for the South Island and this one was the perfect fit for their team.
Built in 1957 as one of the first huts constructed by the New Zealand Forest Service on the West Coast after they took over deer control from Internal Affairs, the original Cedar Flats is a significant historic hut and was restored by DOC in the early 2000s. It's been reasonably well looked after over the years, but was in need of a paint so we put Richard in touch with Tony Thrupp the Senior Ranger at Hokitika. Tony was able to set the team up at short notice with everything needed to do the job from the local DOC workshop.
The team got a perfect weather window in late February and over a week based at the new 12-bunk Cedar Flats Hut next door (an original S70 built by the NZFS in the 1968 and then later doubled in size by DOC in 2012) they got the old hut painted and did inspections of a couple of other huts in the valley at Mullins Basin and on the Yeats Ridge. We hope they are back for more next year now they have got a taste of ticking of a project in the hills as part of a South Island holiday.