Back in 2018 the Upper Clutha Tramping Club kindly donated $1,000 to the Backcountry Trust towards the collective work and in the same letter said 'by the way, can you find a project for us?'. For sometime we had been trying to find a group to take on Top Hut in the Ahuriri Conservation Park. This small 2-person biv was built in 1966 but for the last 20 years had fallen off the maintenance schedule. It was a perfect fit for the size project the group wanted. The group flew in early in March 2019 and were joined by NZ Geographic roving reporter Kennedy Warne who was working on an article for the magazine on New Zealand's backcountry hut network.
The hut had a few issues to deal with which had been identified as part of its last inspection. The chimney in particular needed repairing having been damaged by a treefall, and internally the lintel needed a steel insert to protect it as part of bringing the open fire up to code. With local Wanaka builder Ian Algie leading the technical work, the rest of the group got on with alot of the other critical chores like clearing vegetation around the hut and getting the polyurethane sealant onto the new ply lining. Over the course of three days the team did an amazing amount of work re-roofing the hut, completely gutting the old biv and rebuilding it with new bunks and benches, as well as repairing the chimney.
Huge thanks to Ruth Harrison of the Upper Clutha Tramping Club for pulling all the organisation for this project together. A great outcome for this forgotten corner of one of our new Conservation Parks.