July 2022 Newsletter

Kia ora koutou

Welcome to this newsletter of the Tararua Aorangi Remutaka Huts Committee Inc.

For the last year, the committee of the TARHC have been considering proposals for the review of the society, and an alteration of the society Rules has been registered by the Companies Office. One significant change is a new name for the society. The committee has agreed to the new name of “Greater Wellington Backcountry Network Inc”. This name will be adopted in the near future once rebranding  tasks have been setup.

Membership; Another change is introducing a free membership that is open to anyone with an interest in backcountry recreation in our local forest parks and volunteering with hut and track upkeep.

The TARHC has been fortunate to get support from local organizations to help with volunteer work projects. Completing the Arete Sidle track maintenance in the Waingawa valley has been made possible by a grant from  Trust House Foundation. Local Stihl Shop Masterton is also generously supporting our volunteer work. The local DOC office has supported the track work with supply of gear and equipment, including a Stihl FS460 scrub bar.

We currently have management agreements for 35 tramping tracks in the Aorangi and Tararua forest parks totalling 200 kms. With the progress to date, we are on track to complete up to 130 kms of track maintenance in the first 8 months of the programme.

In addition to taking on track maintenance agreements with DOC, the society has also signed up to management agreements for the upkeep of five huts in the Tararua Forest Park (Maungahuka, Te Matawai, Waitewaewae, South Ohau and Herepai huts). The other 42 non-serviced huts in our forest parks, all are managed by clubs or  other volunteers under Community Agreements with DOC.

TARHC Review

The Committee of the TARHC has agreed to amending the Rules society and these amendments have been registered by the Companies Office. The TARHC was established 30 years ago with the introduction of the DOC hut fees system. The aim was to ensure club upkeep of huts was funded from hut fees and the network kept maintained.

Over the next few months, the 2022/23 summer hut and track programme will confirmed and opportunities for further volunteer effort will be sorted.

Membership will be free. Registered members will be able to stand for the committee of the society, and/or nominate and vote to in  the AGM elections.

Next steps are;

  • Call for nominations for  a new society committee
  • Elect  the new committee at the next AGM in October 2022.
  • Accept applications for membership of the society from the backcountry community

Interested in volunteering for hut or track upkeep? Contact us at info@tarhc.org.nz or message us on Facebook at TARHC


Weather and other factors prevented completion of some of the hut work scheduled for the last summer. Hut work completed that was funded by the TARHC was, interior/exterior repaint of Andersons Hut by the exNZFS group, Clean up of Waitewaewae hut by the Hutt Valley Tramping Club. Alpha hut toilet was in urgent need of being relocated, so the exNZFS team did a quick trip to do that as well.

Hut work carried over to next summer include Dorset Ridge, Nichols and Waiotauru huts. Other huts needing maintenance include repainting the roof of Waitewaewae hut and  an interior and exterior repaint of Te Matawai hut. Alpha had been scheduled for a major wall recladding but this was since not regarded as urgent. Other maintenance will be undertaken  at Alpha  during the summer.

Several other hut projects were completed  by volunteers. BC Trust funded a number of projects. Steve Wilman led major work on  South Ohau, Herepai, amd Mitre Flats huts. The BC trust also funded the exNZFS  reroofing of Carkeek hut and also work on McGregor bivvy. Porirua NZDA worked onTaunui.

DOC funded work by exNZFS on Washpool hut. Meanwhile, in the Remutaka Forest Park  exNZFS volunteer Brent Castle has been quietly working away getting the the Wairongomai hut tidied up.

Andersons and Waitewaewae huts

Wairongomai hut repaint and Alpha toilet relocation


100 kilometres milestone reached; TARHC volunteers have reached a milestone in maintaining tracks in the Aorangi and Tararua forest parks. In the first 6 months of the programme, 100 Kilometers of tramping track have been maintained. A total of 47 days involving 390 hours have been spent maintaining tracks by volunteers. The Stihl FS460 scrub bar has been essential and is used  for 6-9 hours daily. Total operating time has so far been 240 hours.

The TARHC track maintenance programme got underway in December 2021. Initially, track work was mainly in the Kaitoke access of theTararuas, as far as Tutuwai hut and Dobsons. Most of the effort was spent on clearing the gorse from the Dobsons and Smiths Creek tracks that was in urgent need of clearing. Also the Te Kopi access to the Aorangi Crossing which has been a problem area for gorse  making track use difficult. The Lower Waiohine and Cone Saddle tracks were also recut. Remaining tracks in the Totara Flats area will be recut in the coming summer. The Mikimiki Walk and  Tauherenikau Gorge tracks were also cleared.

A start was made on the tracks in the Waingawa valley, that includes the Barra track, Barton track to Atiwhakatu, Upriver to Cow creek. Remaining work in the valley includes the Arete Sidle track, and Lower Ruamahanga. This work has been made possible by a generaous grant from the Trust House Foundation to enable helicopter transport to remote huts.

Members of the Manawatu Tramping and Ski Club led by Jean Garman spent several days doing great work on clearing windfalls and vegetaion on 15 kms of the Mangahao valley track.

Prior to recutting the Cone saddle track, volunteers from the Big Sunday Run group  did much needed remarking of this track. The Mt Frith track will be completely recut. Remarking of the Aorangi Crossing in Aorangi Forest Park will be completed by the Big Sunday trail running group

The Stihl FS460 Scrub Bar provided by DOC has been put to good use on nearly all track work. Some days, this has been up to 9-10 hours per day. We have also purchased a Stihl arborist chainsaw for use on clearing vegetation the scrub bar cant handle.

The overall long term track programme has been finalized with local DOC and a further 140 kms will be added to the long term programme.

With the help from annual funding grants from local DOC, The TARHC aim is to ensure that all of the official track network is maintained from DOC or volunteer effort. To complete a programme that achieves ongoing upkeep of all of the track network, it is anticipated that 50-60kms or track maintained annually is manageable by the volunteers. Agreement has been reached with DOC for a further 22 tracks totalling 100 kms. Upkeep will occur  every 3 to 6 years, depending on vegetation regrowth.

Tracks scheduled next summer include Renata-Aston, Totara Flats tracks, Kapakapanui among others.

Volunteer Ali Barr on Barton track and Stihl scrub bar in use

NMSC Trip Planning App

The Mountain Safety Council (MSC) continue to update trip information on  the Plan My Walk  app with 8 Tararua tracks now available for trip planning.

The app, available for iOS and Android users, was developed by the MSC, and includes Met Service weather forecasts and gear lists as well as more than 1000 DoC tracks. Along with  route descriptions, levels of experience needed to undertake the track are shown, as is current weather forecasts. Gear list, trip dates and emergency contacts can be provided.

The Tararua Aorangi Remutaka Huts Committee is supported by


This newsletter is published by the Tararua Aorangi Remutaka Huts Committee Inc. To contact us, email is info@tarhc.org.nz

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