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The Old Dorset Hut

Amalgamated Helicopters supported the restoration of this popular hunting hut in the central Tararua’s. The Dorset Ridge hut was built in 1968 and replaced the original Dorset Ridge Hut built by the Internal Affairs to accommodate deer cullers and was located on the next spur upstream.

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The original Dorset Ridge Hut

Dorset was scheduled for removal by DOC but some keen Horewhenua deerstalkers (Graham Wilton & Dave McLean) combined with AHNZ to upgrade the hut to DOC standards so that it can be retained as a hunting and tramping accommodation. We have created this page to document the 2008 project.

The original Dorset Ridge Hut was located on the next spur off Dorset Ridge upstream of the existing hut. The hut was one of the original huts built during the days of the Department of Internal Affairs (IAD) deer culling operations.

Design was similar to the other two IAD huts in the Tararua’s, Andersons and Bannister Basin. The hut provided accomodation for IAD and also later on, NZ Forest Service cullers until the existing hut was built in 1968.

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Here is the hut roof as discovered by NZFS hunter Ted Smith.

Cullers awaiting the arrival of an airdrop got a bit of a surprise when the pilot dropping timber and supplies by parachute landed his load right on the hut, causing a fair bit of damage.

The new Dorset Ridge hut April 1968

The new hut replaced the IAD hut that was located on the next spur upstream from the current site. This was thought to be a much better position for space, sun and firewood. Paul Gush, a culler in the Tararuas built the hut with assistance from Brian Barningham Simpson. The following photos show the hut under construction and also the interior of the completed hut.

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The floor goes down.

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The framing is completed.

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The cooking bench area.

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The Wood Stove

Government Hunters at Dorset

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DOC hunter Steve Miers and his dogs at Dorset hut, 1987

Department of Conservation hunters and their dog teams would spend 12 days at a time at Dorset Ridge hut.

These ex NZ Forest Service S70 huts served as bases for the cullers to hunt goats and deer in the Forest Park.

The hunters would walk out of the park at the end of the 12 days to replenish their supplies and then return 2 days later.

The Dorset Ridge Hut Project

Dorset Ridge Hut, Oct 2007, prior to the renovation project.

Dorset Ridge Hut, Oct 2007, prior to the renovation project.

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Dorset Ridge Hut, Oct 2007, prior to the renovation project.

The Project Begins

On the 2nd of February 2008 the materials arrived at the Amalgamated Helicopters base. AHNZL Staff Jason, Jarod & Andy along with project builders Dave Mclean & Graham Wilton carefully prepare and weigh each load. The materials, made up into seperate packets are then reloaded on to the truck and transported to the Waingawa Road End where they will be flown (weather depending…) the next day.

 Weighing the loads

Weighing the loads

 Project builders Dave and Graham.

Project builders Dave and Graham.

The 3rd of Feb the weather was a bit suspect however improved as the morning went on and the flying of the materials was able to begin. Below are photos of the materials arriving at Dorset Ridge Hut from the Waingawa Road End (Many thanks to Chris & Lisa Tait for allowing us to use their property to fly from).

 The first of 12 loads safely arrives.

The first of 12 loads safely arrives.

Jarod unhooks another load.

Jarod unhooks another load.

 The new fire place is unloaded and carried into the hut.

The new fire place is unloaded and carried into the hut.

The new toilet slowly makes its way over the Broken Axe Pinnacles across Dorset Creek and..

The new toilet slowly makes its way over the Broken Axe Pinnacles across Dorset Creek and..

 past the photographer to gently land on site!

… past the photographer to gently land on site!

 Yet another load is safely delivered by Chief Pilot Jason Diedrichs

Yet another load is safely delivered by Chief Pilot Jason Diedrichs

 Looking down on the hut as the next load comes in

Looking down on the hut as the next load comes in

8th of Feb 08

Progress report: Below are some photos of the renovations in full swing, these guys don’t muck around. The restoration team (Graham Wilton, Dave McLean, Allan & Marilyn Day, Maria Clement, Dave Simmons, Cody Delacorix) were flown in late evening of the 6th of Feb, the first photo below was taken early morning on the 8th, the toilet hole (6 feet deep) had been dug and toilet positioned including solar lights and a 20 ltr drum to collect the rain from the roof which includes a tap so you can wash your hands (great Kiwi ingenuity still lives) porch extension and re-roofing is well under way, we can see the new flu kit for the fire also by the look a completed new tank stand.

They crack into it.

They crack into it.

 Off with the old iron and on with the new (pioneer red) not a Norwester in sight (touch wood)

Off with the old iron and on with the new (pioneer red) not a Norwester in sight (touch wood)

And the work continues..

And the work continues..

Dorset Ridge Hut Completion

The 9th Feb 2008 the team at Dorset Ridge Hut call in to let AHNZL staff know they are ready for a pick up and the hut has been completed. The renovation team had a great stretch of weather while they were there and the work went with out a hitch, this just shows the professional people that undertook this project however the Tararuas (as many will know) only afford a tiny few clement weather for more than 2 or 3 days and as sure as eggs the minute the Hut was completed the Tararuas closed the door and the building team were stuck where they were for the next couple of days.

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The restoration team left to right: Dave Simmons, Maria Clement, Allan & Marilyn Day, Graham Wilton, Dave McLean, Cody Delacroix. Fantastic effort guys!

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The finished article: wood shed to the rear, nova light on the porch extension and the Dorset Shuttle parked out front.

 The new Dorset Ridge Hut, Feb 2008

The new Dorset Ridge Hut, Feb 2008

Below are a few photos of the old hut vs new…

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 New roof, porch extension, nova light, wood shed

New roof, porch extension, nova light, wood shed

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 New fire place & stainless bench

New fire place & stainless bench

Old food cupboard removed, new table and bench seats added (hand crafted by Maria Clement

Old food cupboard removed, new table and bench seats added (hand crafted by Maria Clement)

The view from inside the hut looking out to the new porch extension.

The view from inside the hut looking out to the new porch extension.

Right hand side of the porch extension with handy bench, coat hooks & clothes line

Right hand side of the porch extension with handy bench, coat hooks & clothes line

Left hand side of porch extension with new stainless steel sink and bench. Below a shot with the solar light on...

Left hand side of porch extension with new stainless steel sink and bench. Below a shot with the solar light on…

 Pretty flash guys!

Pretty flash guys!

Nothing like coming home to a warm hut

Nothing like coming home to a warm hut

 Last but by no means least the new Dorset WC complete with top of the line hygiene facility. Tararua hut project

Last but by no means least the new Dorset WC complete with top of the line hygiene facility.

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