In the Know with HutReno
A Backcountry Newsletter About Making Tracks and Huts Better
Evaluating HutReno’s Mt Taranaki Project
Making effective use of each volunteer’s energy, skill-set and dedication along with DOC’s time, resources and logistics has meant the outcome of this project was very successful. This is important given 2020 Covid restrictions, weather, the number of volunteers, skill-set and proximity of the project to road end.
As with any project, lessons can always be learned. The following observations highlight the combined achievements and improvements:
- The volunteer effort at North Egmont’s Camphouse was the first in an ongoing relationship in DOC’s Taranaki Region. Each volunteer helped cement this relationship for which I am very grateful. If DOC’s schedule goes according to plan, HutReno may be asked to repaint Holly Hut or other volunteer work in the region during the summer of 2022.
- Unfortunately, volunteer work on the second project: The Maketawa Hut wasn’t able to processed due to the completion of building and engineering work etc.
- DOC’s Daily Check In, Health and Safety and Work Schedule was great management and contributed to the smooth running of each day without incident.
- The team working on track clearance and relining the board walk with nonslip plastic netting from close to the visitor centre to the Camphouse were untiring in their efforts.
- It become apparent that I hadn’t specified the use of the HutReno website for recording and determining Health, Volunteer Protocols and Skill-Set at the time individuals want to volunteer. This was an unprofessional oversite on my part and will not occur next time round.
- An extra day would have been helpful to finish painting window frames, front door, lower timber at the base of the building and help DOC finish the top coat on the Camphouse iron cladding etc. However, the volunteers who worked on this historic building (the oldest of its kind in any NZ National Park) have helped breathe extra life into this significant 1860 to 1881 Land Wars Relic. What an honour!
- Where possible it would be helpful if remedial repairs eg: Rotting timber at the base of the front door frames and under the eves in front of room five were repaired beforehand.
- Depending on the nature of each project, it would be important for DOC to decide on the time required, or whether a second volunteer effort on the same project would be an option. This wouldn’t preclude volunteers from determining their own time frame.
- With future projects, it would be a good idea to have an option for volunteers who may want to spend time hiking in the backcountry following the completion of a HutReno project.
- Special thanks to Jonathan for his sojourn and description of the Camino de Santiago Trail that he and his wife completed and to Alasdair for this moving account of family connections to the establishment of the Camphouse on the slopes of Mt Taranaki. Both reflections helped fill the evenings with much laughter, helpful insight and great conversation.
The Demise of the Christopher Hut Project
- Covid restrictions prevented HutReno from helping DOC renovate Christopher’s Hut on the St James Walk Way in March of this year.
- This was further hindered by not being able to find another project in the Lewis Pass area or beyond for the second group of enthusiastic volunteers.
- While DOC completed most of the work on this Hut, the first week in March 2022 is set aside for volunteering out of Hanmer Springs.
Expressions of Interest for the role of Project Manager
Expressions of Interest are being sought for the role of a HutReno Project Manager and team supporters. An email will be sent to all Tramping Clubs and/or individuals in the Auckland area over the next week as a way of finding the right person/s. A discussion document which profiles the role has been prepared. SO WATCH THIS SPACE!
Request More Information:
The Backcountry Breast Cancer Challenge
David Howe who has been a part of HutReno since its inception has kindly accepted the chairperson’s role of steering a discussion on the Feasibility, Consensus, Strategy and Action Plan for a HutReno Backcountry Breast Cancer Challenge.
All that is required is finding a few strategic individuals to join the investigative group and let’s see what comes out of this idea for creating funding, research and treatment for breast cancer.
Ongoing working relationship with DOC around New Zealand
I was in Wanaka recently and had a meeting with the senior DOC Ranger who has some fifty-five backcountry huts under his extensive portfolio. He was impressed with our conversation and between us, HutReno may well be undertaking our first project in the Wanaka Region as early as December 2021. Very exciting.
I am planning other such meetings in DOC Regions around New Zealand over the next year or two however, I don’t want to commit to projects that can’t be actualized. Starting the volunteer conversation is a great place to begin a working relationship.
A Work in Progress that Acknowledging People, Places and Things.
- Special thanks to Fiona from Kerrigan Creative for her excellent work across all my websites etc, including this newsletter.
- A Big Thanks to all the volunteers and interested individuals supporting this backcountry initiative in the way they do. No greater debt is owed to so few.
- To the Auckland Baptist Tramping Club for promoting HutReno’s projects and the excellent response from its members.
- The first in a series of life-coaching tips entitled: ‘Tools for living can equal skills for a lifetime’ has been produced and is being used as a way of saying thank you to all the volunteers at the completion of each project. There has been positive feedback on the first life tool from HutReno’s Tool Box: Motivational self-efficacy
- A HutReno Certificate of Appreciation which is signed by the local DOC Ranger has also been produced and is being used in recognition of each volunteer’s dedication. Previous volunteers from the Lake Summer project (2019) will receive their certificates in due course.
- Thanks to Alasdair Nicoll for his detailed interest and input from an extensive and well-connected volunteer background with DOC and others. Here is a sample from his latest Email:
“I attended the New Plymouth Tramping Clubs monthly meeting last night and senior DOC Ranger Dave Rogers was speaking on issues and developments and the direction of Egmont National Park. Te Papakura o Taranaki.
One of his slides in his data presentation was on the work of all the different volunteers and volunteer groups that have completed work for them which are jobs that are nice to have done. Well, the work on the Camphouse by HutReno was one of the groups he singled out”.
The last word comes from the heart of what makes HutReno tick: