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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 62 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 has been established with the Website to facilitate and coordinate the maintenance activities and projects undertaken by remote hut users. The focus is on structures that are being minimally maintained by the Department of Conservation, or fully maintained by community groups.
The huts and bivvies were built by the New Zealand Forest Service from the 1950's through to the 70's, initially for animal control purposes, then later with recreation also in mind. DOC took over Crown high-country 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 huts and tracks. A significant lump of one-off Government funding in 2003 allowed for considerable deferred maintenance to take place. Unfortunately, by then, many of the huts were very run-down, and access tracks had overgrown or vanished. DOC undertook a review of high-country resources around the same time, and some of the more delapidated and/ or seldom used huts and bridges were designated for removal.
A small, passionate group of high-country recreationalists had continued to use and derive great pleasure from these huts and bivs during the years of neglect, and advocated for their retention. They view them as an integral part of our collective cultural psyche and recreational heritage, providing 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 unrealistic, and are totally willing to share or take on the maintenance role.
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 with DOC for a hut and one bivouac, both originally designated for removal, with proposals pending for two more bivs. The structures profiled on this site are mostly in the "minimal maintenance" category, and as such at-risk over the long-term from delapidation and removal.
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, donations, 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 170 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.
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