Tautuku Hut is a converted Skyline garage built in 1991 in a clearing, in the Catlin Forest Park. It is reached in a pleasant 2-3 hour walk from the McLeans Falls carpark. Alastair Macdonald from Permolat Southland applied for some funding from the Round 11 grants for what would be the first round of maintenance for this remote hut in a long time. The group had tramped in earlier to recce the project and measure up what was needed. As part of this trip they cleared some bush around the hut to allow for more light on the hut, as well as cut a small track behind the hut and created a small clearing for a much needed toilet.
By late February 2020 the Permolat group of Alastair, Matt, Lois, Ant and Duncan, were flown into the hut with a sling load of materials to carry out renovations on the hut itself and build the new toilet.
Over the next three days, this group of volunteers would carry out around 110 hours on the hut. The group split into two with one group on the toilet assembly and digging the pit. The other half of the group removed the roof of the hut, along with the rats nests and old tar based building paper, before fitting ply sarking, and placed building paper over this, before the tin roof was refitted. A skylight was also fitted over the bench to allow more light into what was a pretty dark hut.
The wall cladding did not go low enough and so the group also fitted a skirt under the bottom of the existing tin to properly cover the subfloor and piles. The hut was prepared for painting with a couple of people in the group wire brushing it and applying the rust kill.
Inside the hut two small two person seats, a small table, and two bunk ladders were built to make the hut a little more usable. The door opening was less than ideal so that was switched to now open into the hut and the steps to the hut were also strengthened and improved.
There is another trip planned at a later date to paint the hut and toilet, which will complete the renovations.
Thank you to the volunteers who ventured backcountry to bring this hut up to scratch and make it fit to shelter its users for many more years to come. Permolat Southland would also like to thank the Backcountry Trust, High Country Helicopters and DOC for their support of the project.