Evolution of the new Atiwhakatu Hut

Through some strange set of circumstances I’ve found myself walking past Atiwhakatu Hut in the Tararuas on 5 separate days of 3 weekends in the past 6 weeks. None of it was very planned in advance, but it happened to correlate with the hut’s replacement, giving me an opportunity to take some photos of its evolution, and the eventual destruction of the old hut. The new Atiwhakatu Hut is the same design as Roaring Stag, and although I haven’t had an opportunity to see inside, it looks great from the outside.

No doubt people involved have their own much more complete sets of photos, but I’m quite chuffed to have my own. This is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to watch a hut being built in this way.

2nd May 2009, about midday



There’s not much to look at yet, but trees have been cleared and there’s a floor.

3rd May 2009, about midday


Lots happened overnight, and now it’s starting to take shape.

10th May 2009, about midday


It’s finally starting to look like a real hut, and the whole Roaring Stag thing is becoming clearer with the deck going around the corner and such.

29th May 2009, about 8.30pm

If there wasn’t still a construction site around it, we might have quite easily walked up and taken this as a fully completed hut. The builders were strumming away on a guitar with the fire going in the old hut as we walked past.

31st May 2009, about 1pm





I’m sure the old NZFS Atiwhakatu Hut will inspire memories for many people, probably including memories of a smoke-filled room. By 31st May, the builders had deemed it time to dismantle the old hut, presumably moving themselves into the new hut whilst completing the final touches. We happened to walk past during this phase, which involved a very hot bonfire.

15th May 2010 (post updated 21st May 2010)



Almost a year after its completion, I finally walked past Atiwhakatu Hut again to see it complete, and about to be packed past overflowing later in the evening.

It must be an interesting and unusual project to be involved in building a back-country hut like this. One of the guys there told us that as Atiwhakatu Hut is near the Holdsworth road, they were spending about seven to eight days on the job at a time, then getting a break. When he was working on Maungahuka Hut near the Tararua Peaks, though, he spent a solid month up there.

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