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(Newton Biv in 2004 prior to painting and repairs, looking along the Newton Range: Photo Andrew Buglass)
Origins Of The Site
This site profiles 66 high-country huts and bivouacs located on the western side of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Its aim is to promote their preservation and continued maintenance, and provide up-to-date hut, track and route information. An online group called Permolat with over 200 members has been established in conjunction with the Website to lobby and undertake hut and track maintenance projects in the remote hut zone. The focus is on structures that are being minimally maintained by the Department of Conservation, or are maintain by community projects.
The huts and bivvies were built mostly by the New Zealand Forest Service from the 1950's through to the 70's, initially for animal control purposes, then later with recreation in mind. DOC took over their management in the mid 80's, but under a far more stringent funding regime. There followed two decades of minimal or zero maintenance for many of the facilities, and many huts became run-down or dilapidated, and tracks overgrew, or vanished. DOC Began removing some of the more dilapidated huts in the early 2000's, much to the dismay of high-country enthousiasts. The Website and the Permolat Group were set up to prevent this process, and to encourage and empower hut users to take responsibility for these facilities . The Permolat Trust was formed in 2014 to oversee and coordinate some of the larger projects that were evolving and now enjoys a productive, cooperative relationship with DOC.
The small, passionate group of high-country recreationalists that are involved in this project continued to use and derive great pleasure from remote huts and bivs and want to promote and share this resource with the wider community. The years of neglect are over and advocated the retention of a number of at-risk huts vouchsafed. These basic structures are an integral part of our cultural psyche and recreational heritage, and provide a remote wilderness experience that compliments the better-resourced, but more crowded national parks and great walks. We accept that full Government funding for these resources is no longer realistic, and are totally willing to share or take on the maintenance role in areas where DOC is no longer able or willing.
DOC administers around 140 huts and bivs in Westland from the Buller to the Haast River. Around 80 of these are, "fully maintain. The rest are, "minimally maintain," or "maintain by community." The Permolat group has maintain by community agreements for a number of huts and bivouacs, and is undertaking regular track maintenance on previously unmaintained tracks. Come and join us - get involved.
On the Remote Huts Westland Website
- Background information About Remote Huts Westland
- Information about Huts.
- Jargon used on the Remote Huts website
- Links to other resources
The contact for general enquiries, feedback, or hut and track updates, is Andrew Buglass.
Permolat is an online group for those wanting more active involvement in the preservation and maintenance of remote huts and tracks. There are around 190 members currently, from diverse backgrounds, living in New Zealand and beyond. If you are interested in joining, click on the link at the start of this paragraph. Permolat is reliant on donations to cover the costs of materials and transport to the hut sites. If you are keen to help us out in this way, it would be greatly appreciated. Our account is Permolat Trust, Kiwibank, 38-9016-0266330-00. Our Charities Reg: CC50626.
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