Popular Southland hut gets makeover

Built in 1905, Martin's Hut has recently undergone significant maintenance. PHOTOS: DOC/SUPPLIED.
Built in 1905, Martin's Hut has recently undergone significant maintenance. PHOTOS: DOC/SUPPLIED.
A historic hut on the Southland section of Te Araroa Trail has received a new lease of life following significant repairs.

Martin’s Hut, located about 15km north of Colac Bay/Ōraka, recently underwent a lightning maintenance job, which finished last month.

In less than two weeks, the 1905 goldmining-era hut was future-proofed and made watertight.

Works also included the addition of a small wooden deck around the front of the hut to help keep mud and water out.

"The combined effects of the harsh climate and the volume of visitors using the hut for shelter took their toll, leaving this important piece of southern history in desperate need of attention for some time," Department of Conservation (Doc) Murihiku supervisor Jono Airey said.

"These upgrades will mean Martin’s Hut can be enjoyed by thousands more visitors for decades to come."

The comprehensive task followed a plan from Doc’s Murihiku heritage and visitor team.

Due to the remote location, materials were flown in, including timber donated by local Tuatapere sawmill Lindsay and Dixon.

 A view of the four-bunk hut before its refurbishment. Timber was donated by local Tuatapere...
A view of the four-bunk hut before its refurbishment. Timber was donated by local Tuatapere sawmill Lindsay and Dixon for the job.
The hut is located on the Longwood Forest Track in Western Southland which forms part of Te Araroa Trail’s network.

Upgrades were mentioned in a recent Tuatapere Te Waewae Community Board report, which gave an update on a meeting between Southland District Council staff and Te Araroa Trail executive director Matt Claridge.

The council was advised story panels were being developed for parts of the trail, and conversations took place about local funds being used to include Southland.

About 2500 people walk the full Te Araroa Trail every year, with 70% of those from overseas, Mr Claridge said.

Just 30% begin their journey in Bluff, most opting to walk from north to south.

 - LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.