South Huxley Biv was built in 1962 and is one of only a couple of crawl in S86 bivs built with a small fire built on the side of the hut (many of the Canterbury bivs were built with the fire on the front next to the offset door). It was the very first hut restored under the Outdoor Recreation Consortium in 2014 when it received a small grant for the work in the first funding round. Geoff Spearpoint, John Abbott and Rob Brown flew into the hut in late November 2014 with basic tools after having been told the hut was in good condition and only needed a paint. It would probably be the last time a group would fly in blind like this to do a project as it soon became apparent that the rear window had been leaking and most of the rear wall was rotten. Luckily they had brought in some extra hand tools and timber enabling basic repairs to be carried out to ensure the hut would remain water tight and serviceable.
On the first full day, Geoff worked away at rebuilding the rear wall, repairing the window and replacing the rotten bits of flooring. Rob and John stripped down the outside, properly sealed and flashed some areas where water was getting in and got the first undercoat on.
The next two days were taken up repairing the fireplace (which had already had a downdraft protector added to it) and putting on two coats of Dulux paint to finish the maintenance round. John had work commitments on the Monday so walked out early on the morning of the final day. Rob and Geoff followed later in the day and a few weeks later a machine was heading through the valley and picked up the tools, rubbish and other gear.
This early round of volunteer maintenance picked up a number of issues in the biv and while the repairs have held up well over the past few years the group has always been keen to go back and finish the job to a higher standard. It has since become apparent that South Huxley Biv is an NZFS biv of a type that was rare when it was built and worthy of a full restoration. The biv is currently sitting just on rocks for support of the sub floor, and while piles were taken in at some stage, the biv was never put onto these. The roof is a patchwork of iron that could do with full replacement which would also remove all the old lead nails and flashing. The fireplace needs a full restoration and the sub floor near here has some areas of rot that would be replaced as part of a restoration. As with all bivs of this age the building wrap is pretty much gone and any full restoration plan would need to factor in recladding. There is another more substantial maintenance round planned for 2021 to deal with all these issues as well as checking that the site next to the river is still the best site for this useful facility in one of the most beautiful parts of Ruataniwha Conservation Park.