Matai Bay hut restora­tion a labour of love

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - JEN­NIFER EDER

For Blen­heim nurse Caro Bartlett, a good sum­mer holiday is the old-fash­ioned kind - an es­cape to an iso­lated hut on a beach, among the bush and with­out cell­phone re­cep­tion.

And at Matai Bay in Pelorus Sound, you can now do just that, thanks to Caro and her fel­low Ten­nyson In­let Boat Club com­mit­tee mem­bers, who have com­pleted restora­tion of a Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion hut.

The project has been a labour of love, Caro says.

‘‘It’s such a won­der­ful hut. And peo­ple of any age, old and young, can visit and have an ex­pe­ri­ence they won’t for­get.’’

DOC had planned to move the hut from Matai Bay, about an hour’s drive north of Have­lock, to Ny­dia Bay which is fur­ther south, af­ter the hut was re­peat­edly van­dalised.

It was orig­i­nally built in the late 1960s as a sta­tion for hunters to stop wild an­i­mals, such as pigs, de­stroy­ing na­tive bush.

But in 2011, the boat club of­fered to re­store and main­tain the hut so it could stay in the bay.

‘‘It was a lot of hard work,’’ Caro says.

The club fundraised to pay for the work and vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing pro­fes­sional builders and stu­dents, spent years get­ting the hut back up to scratch.

Im­prove­ments in­clud­ing a new deck and a jetty for boats - the only way to ac­cess the bay - were fin­ished last year.

The club’s ef­forts have been recog­nised with a nom­i­na­tion for the Cawthron In­sti­tute En­vi­ron­ment Awards and the Trust­power Marl­bor­ough Com­mu­nity Awards.

‘‘We do it be­cause we’re just so pas­sion­ate about it,’’ Caro says.

The club hopes to see tourists and fam­i­lies stay­ing in the hut this sum­mer, the first since the

‘‘We want peo­ple to be stay­ing in that hut each year and keep­ing that tra­di­tional Kiwi holiday alive.’’

restora­tion project was com­pleted.

‘‘We want peo­ple to be stay­ing in that hut each year and keep­ing that tra­di­tional Kiwi holiday alive.

That will keep the hut there for the com­mu­nity for years to come.’’

Visit or con­tact the Pic­ton Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion of­fice for more in­for­ma­tion on book­ings.

Caro Bartlett, Ten­nyson In­let Boat Club com­mit­tee mem­ber A group of vol­un­teers in front of the fin­ished hut at Matai Bay.

Ten­nyson In­let Boat Club vol­un­teers from left, Gra­ham Spall, Doug Booth, Nick Has­san and Caro Bartlett work on the tracks around the Matai Bay hut.

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