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.
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.
Government Hunters at Dorset
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
Below are a few photos of the old hut vs new…