Tongariro National Park – March 2021
Rangipo Hut occupies a high position at almost 1600m on the eastern flanks of Mt Ruapehu, offering important shelter for trampers on the Round the Mountain track. The 20-bunk Lockwood-style hut overlooks the Rangipo Desert and Kaimanawa Ranges, and catches the morning sun – when it’s fine.
However, being so high and exposed, and hut gets a fair hammering from storms, dust and wind-blown scoria, and had been looking much the worse for wear. In March, a four-strong team did a fine job of repainting the hut, funded by the BCT.
The team comprised Jo Carling, Tania Togiatama, Ron Gee and Niki Carling.
Niki tells the story:
‘We spent three long but fantastic days at the Rangipo Hut. The poor hut was crying out for some TLC. The first day was spent doing some serious prep – more than any of us had anticipated. We cranked up the music and put in some graft. The north and south walls were particularly the worse for wear with paint peeling off in our hands. Scrapers were invaluable; fingernails manicured with reams of sandpaper.
‘We drew straws to see who had to work on the shady side of the building, in the cold wind … and who would work on the toilet. We ended up priming large sections of walls, though spot priming was possible on the better-protected back wall. We finished the day with a beautiful sunset and real food, rather than dehy – such a luxury!
‘The second day started misty and damp but burned off, allowing us to get the first coat on the whole building ... and the sadly neglected toilet. Even with our height and arm advantage, we struggled to reach some of the high boards and fascia, but fortunately found an extension pole in the very well-stocked implement cupboard in the warden’s quarters. A very long day’s yakka was rewarded with a well-deserved sundowner, food cooked on the fire and a good night’s sleep.
‘Day three started early with a magnificent sunrise. We managed to stick to our schedule and complete the second coat and clean-up in time for our helicopter pick-up.
‘The helicopter ride was fun (though not long enough) and was much appreciated for enabling us to take in supplies.
‘Overall we had a great time and came back tired but satisfied and happy. And yes, we could be persuaded to do another one sometime in the future! Thank you for the opportunity.’
Well done Team Rangipo, the hut is looking great, and the colours nicely suit the landscape too.