New hut for An­chor­age

The Leader (Tasman) - - NEWS - By SARAH DUNN

Tram­pers vis­it­ing the Abel Tas­man Na­tional Park this sum­mer will be able to rest and re­cu­per­ate bet­ter than ever when a new hut opens at An­chor­age.

About eight work­ers from Kennedy Con­struc­tion have been rent­ing a nearby bach and stay­ing at a DOC rangers’ hut for about four months while the new hut takes shape.

They are hard at work fit­ting out the bunkrooms, fin­ish­ing tiling and plumb­ing, paint­ing walls and putting on other fin­ish­ing touches be­fore Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Nick Smith walks in to open the hut on Oc­to­ber 11.

Lo­cal iwi will also per­form a dawn bless­ing that day, be­cause the hut site has strong cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance to Maori.

The pub­lic are in­vited to walk the three-hour trip from Mara­hau to An­chor­age to at­tend the noon open­ing cer­e­mony, and wa­ter taxi op­er­a­tor Aquataxi have of­fered to ferry peo­ple back af­ter­wards at a dis­counted rate.

A hut which for­merly stood on the An­chor­age site was built in 1973, and was dis­man­tled piece by piece. It slept 24 peo­ple on ‘‘back-coun­try’’-style com­mu­nal sleep­ing plat­forms.

‘‘It was get­ting to the end of its use­ful life,’’ part­ner­ships ranger Rudy Tet­teroo said.

‘‘We see [the new hut] as a huge in­vest­ment in fu­ture op­por- tu­ni­ties to get peo­ple and fam­i­lies into the park.’’

The new hut will sleep 34 peo­ple in bunk rooms hold­ing tra­di­tional bunks rather than plat­forms. Three of th­ese rooms will sleep eight, and one can hold 10 peo­ple. It will cost $32 a per­son, per night.

Rudy said it would still have cold show­ers, but boasted full in­su­la­tion, dou­ble-glazed win­dows, and a large fire­place to keep it warm.

‘‘We don’t be­lieve it needs any other form of heat­ing,’’ he said.

The fire will be fed with wood from a nearby stand of wild­ing pines which DOC has poi­soned. The hut also has two toi­lets nearby.

Project man­ager Kim Forbes said DOC had in­tended to re­build the old hut in a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion af­ter dis­man­tling it, but found the per­mis­sions process pro­hib­i­tively dif­fi­cult. The pieces were shipped out on a barge and re­main in Mara­hau.

Kim said the phys­i­cal price of the new hut was $497,763. With de­sign costs, geotech costs and the cost of ar­chae­ol­o­gists and iwi mon­i­tors who over­saw the build­ing fac­tored in, the to­tal cost was likely to reach $600,000.

Lead fore­man Doug Gale said it had been a ‘‘quite chal­leng­ing, but very ful­fill­ing build’’.

De­spite the strain of liv­ing and work­ing with his team in the iso­lated park for months on end, he still ap­pre­ci­ated the stun­ning water­front view of An­chor­age Bay.

‘‘Some­times you’re work­ing away and you look up and think, ‘Well, that is just fan­tas­tic’.’’

He said Kennedy’s ‘‘real team men­tal­ity’’ meant the builders dealt with the con­di­tions well, swap­ping work­ers in and out ev­ery few weeks so that the many who had young fam­i­lies could spend time with their chil­dren.

Three builders from Ful­ton Ho­gan have mean­while been camped just along the coast at Oneta- hut for three weeks while they work on a bridge.

The 50-me­tre bridge will im­prove walk­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties be­tween Awaroa and One­tahuti, link­ing a part of the track sub­ject to tides.

Kim said that be­fore the One­tahuti bridge’s con­struc­tion, walk­ers had to wait be­fore low tide to con­tinue on their way along the Abel Tas­man Coastal Track.

‘‘Peo­ple used to strip off and swim across, they did all kinds of things.’’

It is part of a larger project that in­cludes 250 me­tres of board­walk and a sec­ond 20-me­tre bridge across Richard­son Stream.

Ful­ton Ho­gan su­per­vi­sor Stuart Heath said he and his work­ers had a ‘‘rough week’’ af­ter storms raged up and down New Zealand ear­lier this month, but he liked fall­ing asleep lis­ten­ing to the sea near their camp­site.

The project will be com­pleted in early Novem­ber and opened with a bless­ing.

Photo: MAR­ION VAN DIJK

Hut progress: DOC project man­ager Kim Forbes, left, and DOC north and western South Is­land re­gional plan­ning man­ager An­drew Cudby at the new hut at An­chor­age in Abel Tas­man Na­tional Park which is be­ing com­pleted for the open­ing on Oc­to­ber 11.

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