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What is HutReno?

HutReno is a volunteer service that brings together like-minded individuals, professional organisational planning and individuals’ practical skills for the purpose of renovating backcountry huts throughout New Zealand. It must be noted that all HutReno projects are subject to DOC’s requirements, protocols and their discretion.

Supporting the Department of Conservation

HutReno is designed to provide the Department of Conservation with a New Zealand-wide volunteer service for maintenance to backcountry huts and tracks.

This volunteer initiative has been independently developed by its founder to support DOC’s ongoing preservation and management of backcountry huts.

With an estimated 950 backcountry huts, DOC needs all the volunteer help it can get when it comes to budget requirements and management of backcountry buildings for human habitation.

This voluntary service will reduce the ever-increasing demand on DOC’s resources. It also means maintaining the efficiency and value of one of DOC’s most important assets, the vulnerability of its modern and older huts, shelters and bivvies.

HutReno is complimentary to other backcountry volunteer efforts made by dedicated individuals, organisations and various clubs.

How did HutReno Come About?

HutReno came about because DOC ranger Duncan Anthony went beyond the call of duty to widen a track near Hope Kiwi Lodge on a small part of New Zealand’s Te-Araroa Trail in the Lake Summer Forest Park. When asked why he was mowing the grass, he said;

“I am doing this so that people like you can walk on a cleared track to the Hut.”

It was his simple but considerate reply that got me thinking about helping in a volunteer capacity.

Twelve months later, six volunteers (Phil and Ali Norton, Bev Watkinson, Alastair Nicoll, David H and David Moore) from the Auckland Baptist Tramping Club made their way to Doc’s field depot in Hanmer Springs. In the company of four of Doc’s staff, including the Ranger Duncan Anthony, ten individuals headed off to renovate Three Mile Stream Hut and Top Hope Hut, along with clearing overgrown tracks etc.

The success of this project in March 2019, was largely due to the hard work of each of the six volunteers. Special thanks to the ABTC president; Barbara Langridge for making this volunteer effort one of the clubs 40th Anniversary projects where four DOC Huts would be repainted.

Why the Need for HutReno?

The advancement of New Zealand’s international status as a unique post-card destination is one of the many reasons for the current numbers of immigration (65,000 per year to June 2018). This is also in addition to unprecedented tourism numbers (3.8 million a year) and an overloaded infrastructure.

The Mountain Safety Council’s 2018 report (A Walk in the Park) on New Zealand’s tramping incidents, detailed that 5 deaths, 500 rescues and 4000 tramping injuries occurred in 2017. The report also found that more than 1.5 million people tramped in NZ in 2017, about 900,000 of which were New Zealand’s. This intensification is on the back of an expected $50 billon tourist industry within the next six years. The current earning is $39.1 billion a year.

To illustrate this surge of interest in New Zealand’s great outdoors, is realizing that at the height of the tramping season some 2000 people walk the Tongariro Crossing, which is adjacent to Mt Ruapehu in the central north island.

HutReno’s commonality with other back country initiatives is a shared vision in conservation efforts towards back country huts. However, HutReno would like to go one step further by creating a New Zealand wide backcountry volunteer service. This will ensure that DOC’s valuable time, budget requirements and personal, are not tied up with unnecessary planning, organizational details, processing volunteer suitability etc.

‘Being around ingenuous, conscientious, strategic, humorous and philosophically enlightened individuals is inspiring. The maker (DOC Ranger Duncan Anthony) of this letterbox is one of them.’

David Moore

HutReno is a not-for-profit Organisation

HutReno prepares behind the scenes logistics. We liaise with DOC in order to link up with the required projects for all parties involved. When this involves working with other backcountry service providers, then better the strength of many than the efforts of one!

What is a HutReno Project Profile?

A Project Profile provides details of a completed HutReno project once the adequate number of volunteers have registered their interest. A Project Profile will detail a range of important matters for volunteers to be fully informed ahead of time. The development of a HutReno App for communicating any Project Profile updates is being considered.

What is a HutReno Project Calendar?

A Project Calendar comprises possible up and coming HutReno backcountry project/s that are being discussed with DOC.

About HutReno

HutReno is a volunteer service for individuals who have a passion for the great outdoors and are interested in its conservation and who love a motivational challenge. HutReno helps preserve the life, legacy, and comfort of New Zealand’s backcountry huts.

HutReno Vision

HutReno validates each volunteer’s commitment to the core of conservation efforts and holds to scientific evidence-based practice to conservation efforts throughout New Zealand.

We want to hear from you

Get in touch and register your interest today. All enquiries are welcome.