Sanc­tu­ary for an­i­mals moves to Hutt


The cat’s out of the bag and HUHA is head­ing to Hutt Val­ley for a new start.

An­i­mal shel­ter HUHA (Help­ing you help an­i­mals) will be mov­ing into a new site on Hay­wards Hill once the fi­nal de­tails are ironed out.

‘‘We were try­ing to fit our dreams into 18 acres (7.3 hectares),’’ HUHA founder Carolyn Press-McKen­zie said of their pre­vi­ous shel­ter in a Manakau block off State High­way 1. ‘‘The sense of free­dom is go­ing to be amaz­ing.’’

HUHA is an an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary that res­cues and re­ha­bil­i­tates any an­i­mals in need from ex-cir­cus mon­keys to stray dogs. TIt also pro­vides ad­vice and sup­port for pet own­ers and have a strict nokill pol­icy.

Press-McKen­zie said they were just work­ing through the due dili­gence stage of real es­tate pro­ceed­ings and ex­pected ev­ery­thing to be set­tled by Fe­bru­ary 20.

The 63.5-hectare sec­tion is on Old Hay­wards Road, next to the Hay­wards Elec­tric­ity Sub­sta­tion, on what used to be a block of forestry land.

Press-McKen­zie was work­ing through re­source con­sents for the shel­ter and drive­way ac­cess is­sues and had been in con­tact with both the Up­per Hutt City Coun­cil and the Hutt City Coun­cil.

While HUHA’s new ad­dress would be in Lower Hutt, drive­way ac­cess to the prop­erty fell un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of Up­per Hutt City Coun­cil.

Press-McKen­zie de­scribed the land sale as an ‘‘early preg­nancy’’. The pa­per­work wasn’t fi­nalised but she be­lieved they needed to say some­thing - es­pe­cially when peo­ple no­ticed a for sale sign go­ing up at their old premises.

‘‘We are very trans­par­ent and very open - we have to be,’’ she said. Since HUHA re­lied on do­na­tions, it was im­por­tant to be clear about what the or­gan­i­sa­tion was do­ing.

Cur­rently the land had noth­ing on it, not even trees from its pre­vi­ous life as forestry land.

Press-McKen­zie de­scribed it as look­ing ‘‘post-apoc­a­lyp­tic’’.

‘‘But even in its worst state, it’s still won­der­ful for us.’’

HUHA would have to build ev­ery­thing from scratch, cre­at­ing pur­pose-built struc­tures with the help of do­na­tions and the com­mu­nity. The new space would ac­com­mo­date up to 30 dogs, have space for horses and a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment for re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing na­tive birds af­ter surgery.

Fu­ture plans for the site in­clude de­vel­op­ing an off-the­leash area for nearby dog own­ers as well as an evac­u­a­tion point pet own­ers can take their an­i­mals in case of tsunami.

HUHA moved from its lo­ca­tion in Otaki af­ter neigh­bours ob­jected to its ap­pli­ca­tion for re­source con­sent for the an­i­mal shel­ter. Its new clos­est neigh­bours live over the hill.

‘‘We talk about our suc­cesses - and our mis­takes.’’

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