The Greater Wellington Backcountry Network (GWBN)
The GWBN supports the backcountry hut track network and promotes recreational use in the in the Tararua, Aorangi and Remutaka Forest Parks.
The GWBN was formally known as the Tararua Aorangi Remutaka Huts Committee Inc (TARHC).
The TARHC was first established in 1988 with the introduction of the DOC National Hut Fees system. The primary purpose of the committee was to ensure the ongoing upkeep and retention of huts by supporting hut custodians with funding and co-ordinate and encourage the upkeep of huts. Clubs and DOC agreed on priorities for hut upkeep and funding was provided from the hut fees sales received by DOC which was passed on to the committee.
The forest parks in the Wellington region have a long history of tramping and hunting and are regarded as the Home of tramping in New Zealand. Initial development of the track and hut networks was mainly done by club members and still form the core network of huts and tracks in the forest parks. Clubs have strong connections with many existing huts.
A review of the purpose of the TARHC in 2021-22 led to a wider role in fostering backcountry recreation in our forest parks, through to maintenance and provision of huts and tracks. A significant change was opening the society to a wider membership from the backcountry community. Both clubs and other groups may become members, as well as individuals with an interest in supporting the aims of the GWBN.
The GWBN is an Incorporated Society and is also a registered charity.
Membership of the GWBN is free and members may stand for election to committee positions, and/or may nominate and vote in elections for the committee. There are opportunities to participate in volunteer work on huts and/or tracks and support other aims of the GWBN.
Seventeen Clubs and individuals that are members of the GWBN have management agreements with DOC for the upkeep of a total of 42 backcountry huts in the forest parks.
The GWBN also has its own management agreements for five huts backcountry huts in the Tararua Forest Park. All of the 47 non-serviced backcountry huts in the forest parks are now maintained under management agreements by volunteers that are members of the GWBN..
We have also taken on the upkeep of the tramping track network, and have management agreements for 57 tramping tracks totalling approximately 300 kms in Aorangi and Tararua forest parks. This commitment will ensure that a major part of the backcountry track network in those forest parks will continue to be maintained.
The committee has a close working relationship with the local DOC staff. DOC provide an annual funding grant to the GWBN to contribute to the upkeep of huts and tracks.