New hut for Anchorage
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.
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.