Kotepato Hut Again

Hut and track building and maintenance has always been a fun and rewarding activity undertaken by tramping and climbing clubs. Clubs come into their own when many hands make light work and nothing build club spirit better than some work undertaken for the greater good. Here is another account of Nga Tapuwae O Taneatua’s recent Kotepato Hut project, this time focusing on the club and the people, and destined for the local papers.

Giving something back…………

Six members of the Nga Tapuwae O Taneatua tramping club recently spent 2 days in the Waioeka Gorge area building a porch onto the front of an existing hut – Kotepato Hut – and doing some track work. We walked in and out, building materials helicoptered in. Much was achieved in short-time by  the volunteers in very humid but fine weather.

Nga Tapuwae O Taneatua “the footsteps of Taneatua” Tramping club was established in 1968, currently has nearly 100 members from all over the Eastern Bay of Plenty. The weekly Thursday tramp sees 12-25 hearty souls explore a variety of local tracks and make a few of their own. The Sunday trampers although a smaller group have many years of tramping experience and undertake a lot of track work and arrange overnight tramping adventures. All club members are an adventuresome lot, social, fun, caring of each other and of course live in the best place in the world!

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Nga Tapuwae-O-Taneatua Tramping Club has a long record of “giving back” to the areas members tramp in: Over the years club members have painted Wharekahika Hut, TeWaiti Hut, & Pakihi Hut, and scrubbed out and cleaned numerous huts we have stayed in. Track clearing has also been a regular activity, with Little Manganuku Track, Goldsmiths Track, The Tauranga Track-Waioeka, The TeWaiti Track, Wahaatua Track, and for many years the Pakihi Track.

On a regular trip to Kotepato Hut in the Waioeka Valley in 2015 the thought of improving this hut was conceived. The hut was in need of a tidy up, and the 12 bags rubbish we carried our gave a feeling of satisfaction and ownership. DOC had indicated that Kotepato Hut was no longer to receive maintenance, and could possibly be removed unless the community showed an interest in its maintenance. Kotepato Hut can be reached in under 2.5hours from the car park, so is ideal for families, and first time visitors, as well as fishermen and hunters. The hut was suffering from the lack of a deck and porch we thought, but who would have believed that 5 months later the thought would be turned into action.

The first step towards action was when Club Member Stuart Slade made a successful application to the Outdoor Recreation Consortium for financial support for volunteers to undertake the work. The application required the club to have a Management agreement with DOC to cover the project so this was sorted again by Stuart with a flurry of emails to committee members. Sketch plans were made and the local DOC staff arranged the purchase of materials and for them to be flown by Opotiki Helicopters into the site.

The real action began on the 25th of January. Six club volunteers walked into Kotepato Hut on the Monday morning. By lunch time we had dug out the area for the foundations and the helicopter had dropped materials and our gear in. By nightfall Monday we had the foundations completed, bearers attached, and all decking secured. By Tuesday the roof structure was completed, followed by the wall framing and cladding.  On Wednesday after a celebratory dinner in the new porch the group walked out.

Volunteer Faye Gillin found it a “new and rewarding experience”. The six volunteer builders, all pensioners, worked well together. Many years of professional work experience (teachers, government worker, farmer and nurse) and lifetimes of home-handyman “kiwi can-do” skills culminated in a jovial, co-operative work environment. Masterchefs Margaret and Faye supplied nourishment for all, including pikelets, while the Te Pato stream provided a welcome cooling off swim in the late afternoon.

As with all tramping and outdoor activities we were all very conscious of safety issues with no incidents. When things were bit crowded on the small work site there was some track work to be done nearby. We also had time and materials to fit a bunk ladder to improve safety in reaching top bunks, and make a seat along one wall and a movable table and a step onto the porch near the existing water tank, which we managed to drain enough to fix the holes. Ms Gilllin recommends the experience to other clubs “to put something back” into the tramping areas we have the privilege to explore, enjoy and enhance.

Team Kotepatu Hut: Stuart and Margaret Slade, Peter Green, Peter Laing, Bob and Faye Gillon

Serpentine Hut

One of the first completed projects funded by the Outdoor Recreation Consortium was the Andrew Buglass led renovation of Serpentine Hut in the Hokitika. Serpentine is a very remote hut hemmed in by gorges in a catchment where tracks were non-maintained for a long time. The efforts of the volunteers of the Permolat Trust have reopened routes in the area and ensured that many of the huts remain to provide shelter.

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“On the 23/­26 of January (2015..ed) in glorious weather, our victorious party of four completed the repiling and maintenance work at Serpentine Hut in the Hokitika valley. We replaced 11 of the 16 original piles and braced them diagonally at both ends of the Hut. Some of the piles were set out from the edge of the Hut, allowing water to seep in under the bearers. We put small flat­iron flanges on these to provide an overlap to run the water past. Replaced one rotten purlin in the roof and half a sheet of clearlight. All the leadheads we pulled to do this were replaced with bolt­in roofing screws. The roof was repainted and the end wall. The rest of the Hut was still fine and just needed touching up. We cleared the regen around the Hut site and enlarged an levelled the helipad. This was necessary as our machine was barely able to get in. The pad had become more marginal since I looked at it last June. Unfortunately because of this we exceeded our planned budget due to having to make extra trips with smaller loads than planned.

We also managed to recut a section the old NZFS track from the Hut to half­way down the Omatane Canyon. There is now only a short section of lower Canyon still to cut and mark in order to link it with the trackwork we’ve already done from the Hokitika roadend.

Images are attached of the work we did. An image is attached of the invoice for the helicopter lifts $1955.16 2 pdf files are also attached.  One a scan of the mountain radio invoce $55 and the other a scan of receipts for materials purchased from the Warehouse and Mitre 10. You’ll note 3 receipts from Mitre 10. The first is for  $319.03. I ended up taking back 6 of the 600ml piles and swapping them for 6 x 900ml ones (a wise move in hindsight). I was refunded $62.88, then charged $94.38 for the longer piles. End total $350.53. The Warehouse invoice is for $45.20.
Grand total of $2405.89 (GST inclusive). We’re slightly under the $$2450 we asked for, but then we weren’t able to do the trackwork down from Frisco Hut (requiring another helicopter lift) due to the overrun on chopper costs for the hut maintenance. I’ll attempt to get the money to complete this from the Permolat Trust, otherwise I’m happy to finance it myself. The last bit of trackwork in the Omatane Canyon can probably be done as a walk­in from the roadend.

Volunteer hours so far 224. This is for Cruise taping the old trackline around the lower Hokitika Canyons (24 hrs) Cutting and marking the old trackline on the canyon sections from Rapid Creek to the top end of thew Kawau Gorge (80 hrs) Serpentine Hut repiling and maintenance (80 hrs) Trackwork from Serpentine Hut down to the mid­Omatane Canyon (40 hrs)
I’ve attached photos of the work we did.”

Hope to the Waiau

The Outdoor Recreation Consortium has been able to assist in the enhancement of a network of tracks for backcountry horse-riders. Two groups working in partnership, the Hamner Springs Horse Riders and High-Country Pleasure riders have completed several projects between the Hope River and the Waiau River – St James country.

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Kotepato Hut

Stuart Slade and club-mates froms the Nga Tapuwae O Taneatua tramping club recently adopted Kotepato Hut in the Waiokea Conservation Area. They just got back from a trip to add a porch to the hut and do some general maintenance…

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“Six club volunteers walked into Kotepato Hut Monday morning. By lunch time we had dug out the area for the foundations and the helicopter had dropped materials and our gear in. By nightfall Monday we had the foundations completed, bearers attached , and all decking secured. Tuesday the roof structure was completed, followed by the wall framing and cladding. We also had time and materials to fit a bunk ladder and make a seat along one wall and a table.We had all gear secured for flying out by 8.00am this morning and walked out before rain showers started. We expect the chopper to fly our gear out tomorrow.”

Roaring Billy Video

Geoff Spearpoint recently reported a final trip to Roaring Billy Hut, and that work there is now complete. Hugh van Noorden  made a video of an earlier trip and in an email below Geoff outlines the work they completed.

Roaring Billy Hut from Hugh van Noorden on Vimeo.

“In the first week in december Hugh van Noorden, Peter Fullerton and I flew into Roaring Billy with a heap of stuff and have now completed most of the external work on the hut.
We flew in with Greg, James Scott’s pilot in Haast.
First up we straightened the chimney which was sagging on it’s base- it was sitting on a couple of rocks which had slumped a little. Having lifted it with a jack, we then boxed up and poured a base of concrete under it and the steel beam we had taken in to lift it on. It is now on a strong stable base.
We replaced almost all the warped ply. There are a couple of sheets still to do in the porch area.
We ripped the ridging off which was very rusty and replaced it with wide coloursteel ridging.
We replaced the skylight at the same time.
We scraped down all the outside of the hut except the top of the chimney and washed the roof after scrubbing any rusty areas. The walls were scrubbed down and Sugar soaped and rinsed. Rusty areas were then treated with CRC rust converter. The whole external of the hut was then covered with Dulux Rust Quit primer, then 2 coats of Weathershield top coat. The external window sills were sanded and painted with primer and gloss.
I also put in a woodshed as i did at Tunnel Creek to get rid of most of the wood in the porch, which was damp.
We poured a new concrete step at the door.
We cut the track a short distance to give access upriver. We also cleared the area around the hut to let the light in more and cleared back scrub and ferns from the heli pad. We also improved the start of the track down valley, but that track is still largely to do.
The other big thing still to do is painting the interior, but those things should be done on the next trip.
Weatherwise, we had a dream week. One front came through making tues wet. The rest of the time was fine, sometimes overcast.
Cheers, and next up Thomas.”