Ruahine Forest Park, Hawke’s Bay – December 2021
Stanfield Hut lies on the banks of the Tamaki River West Branch, in the southeastern part of the Ruahine Range. Originally built by the NZ Forest Service in 1965, it replaced earlier hunter’s huts in the valley. The hut’s name remembers George Stanfield, who farmed nearby in the Ruahine foothills. Now over 50 years old, the hut was due for a bit of love and attention, which it certainly got from the (almost) all-women team in December 2021. The BCT’s dynamic Megan Dimozantos had this to report.
‘Sally Neal did an incredible job of ordering materials and herding cats on her first big project, and was joined by Aaron Neal, Helen Payn and Tobias Wevers (this team painted Sunrise Hut last year).'
'We were also joined by superstars Victoria Anne Bruce and Emilie, who are currently tackling the Te Araroa trail as a ‘mum and daughter’ team. We also had a celebrity appearance by Bill Veale, who, in a masterful stroke of poetic irony, arrived on foot with Alan in tow and removed the very deck he had built himself 30 years ago, ready for a new fresh deck. What a champion!'
During Stage One, Stanfield Hut got a new ceiling, new roof, new woodshed, new tank-stand and a fresh paint job on the inside - using Dulux paint of course!
'For Stage Two, a team of four gals headed in over the 11-12 December weekend. Sally Neal, Helen Payn, Lisa Fraser and myself did a couple of quite long, hard days to try and get it squared away before the forecast rain hit. The walk in was not quite as brutal as expected. Bill Veale surprised us by arriving at the trail-head and waiting for us. He carried some of our gear to the old heli pad at the top of the descent into the hut. Man, were we grateful for his help!'
'We managed to get the deck in place, the woodshed finished and the water-tank plumbed in, but unfortunately we didn't quite finish the painting and a couple of other bits and bobs before the rain reached us (this has since been completed).'
'Tramping out in the pouring rain required a ‘mutual support’ style crossing of the Tamaki River West Branch (heads up, it rises very quickly in the rain, and crossing is unavoidable). Then good ol' Bill rocked up with farmer Doug's ATV and gave us a lift out from the old heli pad, then took us back to the woolshed to dry off and have a cuppa. Marvellous!'
'We have a real neat little community. I think myself incredibly lucky to be part of this small army of amazing people! Absolute bloody legends, the lot of ya. Thanks!’
To follow the adventures of mother and daughter Te Araroa team Victoria and Emilie see: