Inside this hut you see the Sky

The hut on Mt Alexander Station in Dansey Pass.
The hut on Mt Alexander Station in Dansey Pass.
Neville Hore relaxes in the kitchen of his hut on Mt Alexander Station in Dansey Pass.
Neville Hore relaxes in the kitchen of his hut on Mt Alexander Station in Dansey Pass.
A flat-screen TV adorns the wall of the  hut.
A flat-screen TV adorns the wall of the hut.
A Sky dish and long-drop toilet add to the hut's comforts.
A Sky dish and long-drop toilet add to the hut's comforts.
The visitor's book in the hut.
The visitor's book in the hut.
Prominent dog triallist and farmer Neville Hore with his dogs at home on Mt Alexander Station....
Prominent dog triallist and farmer Neville Hore with his dogs at home on Mt Alexander Station. Photos by Stephen Jaquiery.

Remote Dansey Pass boasts a hut with all the home comforts. Not only does it have the kitchen sink, it also has the ultimate in hut luxury - a flat-screen television, as Sally Rae reports.

An entry in the visitor's book says it all.

''Headed back to hut to watch rugby on the new edition. As Neville would say, she's a bit flash Harry now.''

For as Dansey Pass farmer and prominent dog triallist Neville Hore says, his hut on 4046ha Mt Alexander Station is ''not the ordinary bloody musterers' hut''.

Not that there is any sibling rivalry, but he did point out that while his big brother Jim's flash hut over at Stonehenge, in the Maniototo, might boast a double bed, it did not have television.

Indeed, there is a flat-screen TV on the wall of the fairly palatial abode at Mt Alexander and ''you can have a bet on the TAB if you feel like it'', Mr Hore quipped. Power is supplied by a generator sitting outside.

Admittedly, the TV remote did look a little out of place among the more traditional hut items, like lanterns and hunting magazines, as did the satellite dish on the hut's exterior.

Continuing the rugby theme, the light-bulb is a little crooked thanks to a visit from All Black lock Sam Whitelock, who is ''a bit tall''.

Watching the rugby, however, will not be quite the same now for Mr Hore, given his All Black nephew Andrew recently retired from professional rugby.

The hut was installed by the NZ Electricity Department to provide radio contact between Benmore and Roxburgh and is constructed from freezer panels.

When it was no longer required, it was going to be pulled down, but Mr Hore suggested it be left, recognising its potential.

He installed a fire, ''bedded her up'' and built on to the building, mostly with the assistance of Bill Winmill, turning it into spacious and comfortable accommodation now used by him and his mates.

Remote Dansey Pass, the particularly scenic pass linking the North Otago and Maniototo areas, in the Kakanui Range, has been home to Mr Hore and his wife Mary since the 1970s.

The huts he remembered back home at Stonehenge, when he was young, were ''pretty basic''.

On a good day, Mt Alexander hut, which is about 1371m above sea level, has expansive views from the Remarkables to the Maniototo - where Mr Hore grew up. The lights of Oamaru can be seen at night and, in the morning, ''the sun climbing out of the sea if you're up and going''.

Another entry in the visitor's book read simply - ''on top of the world''.

''You get a hooer of a view up here,'' Mr Hore said, in his own colourful way.

While it could get cold, the aptly named Little Beaut fire worked well and, once stoked up, the windows have to be opened.

Mates with various skills came in handy with the hut work - the grader driver's wife was responsible for the curtains, while a television technician proved valuable when it came to installing the flat-screen.

The kitchen joinery would not be out of place in an urban home, although the two eggs on the window sill may well have seen better days.

''I'll don't think they'll be too good - we won't eat those ones,'' Mr Hore mused.

The hut's location is a windy spot; suffice to say the toilet blew away once. But it has been resurrected and had been secured so ''she won't blow again''.

With all the comforts of home, including the kitchen sink, along with a shower (complete with a very masculine looking pink towel), double-glazing and a vacuum cleaner, which was put to use - ''can't you tell?'' - the hut was the ideal venue for a ''man's weekend'', to watch the rugby or shoot a deer, Mr Hore said.


Mt Alexander Station hut
• Dansey Pass links Central Otago to the Waitaki district

• Located at the north end of the Maniototo Plains, the start of the pass is about 10 minutes from Naseby and 20 minutes from Ranfurly

• A classic alpine pass, it is unsealed and can be closed by snow during winter.

• It is named after William Heywood Dansey, a North Otago run-holder who was with three others on an expedition over the pass into Central Otago in 1855-56; they were likely to be the first Europeans to see the Maniototo Plains.

• It was once used for gold mining traffic.

• The pass is home to the historic Danseys Pass Coach Inn, which was built in 1862, a camping ground, a lavender farm and various high country stations.


 

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