Wairarapa Volunteer News and Views Autumn Edition

Vol. 8 2021

Photo by Aaron Smith – Heritage and Visitor Ranger

Good day to you!

I really appreciate the reports and photos sent in on work completed to keep the Volunteer service data up to date. All the work recorded as completed by our clubs/volunteers for reserves/parks/huts/tracks is accredited to the Volunteer work program. It also helps me to put together articles for newsletters.

The feedback I received regarding continuation of the newsletter was positive and it appears a percentage of you all would like to continue being sent newsletters. Some ideas suggested to include would be more staff profiles, changes and updates on access or upgrades or changes to areas where any of your lovely volunteers have been involved. I will endeavour to do this but please keep in mind, I can only work with the information provided, both internally and externally. So, keep your contributions and reports coming!!

The Recreation and Historic Team has had a small upgrade and change-about and with that came a new “handle”. We are now known as the Heritage and Visitor Team – I will include a small profile and photo of the team in Winter newsletter.

The painting of Mangahao Flats hut by Jean Garman – Manawatu Tramping and Skiing Club

At the annual work party in February 2020, it was noted that the hut was starting to look a little shabby – no wonder since it was at least 17 years since we had last stained and painted it. So, over the next year funds were sought (thanks MTSC and TARHC) and I got my head around the fact that we would be painting rather than re-staining the cladding.  As the stained cladded was quite prone to growing green algae where it was a bit damp it needed to be sprayed with 30 seconds 6 weeks prior to painting, so Ivan and I tootled in and did this while taking a bit of a stock take and a measure up for bits that needed replacing. While there it was apparent that the clear area below the hut had become much larger and clearer, and the only thought we had as to why this might be was that maybe the Air Force might like to use it for training.  Turns out we were right, and they even kindly agreed to fly in the ladders and the paint for us. The paint was kindly supplied by Dulux in the DOC standard colours of the very apt ‘DOC Green’, ‘Pioneer Red’ and ‘Sandfly Point’. 

With everything in place, it was time for the work party to begin. Unfortunately, the forecast was not great for Saturday and Sunday, so rather than waste precious time Jean, Jenny and Dave walked in on Saturday, getting to the hut only a little while after the rain started. The ladders and paint were brought up to the hut then we realised that no-one had thought to bring a screwdriver to take off the ever-growing number of signs decorating the interior of the hut. Luckily, Jenny had one on her pocketknife. The walls were washed with sugar soap, then sanded and that was enough for the day. Sunday it continued to rain so the sanding and masking off were finished and the painting of the interior walls and trim began. It was not overly warm so when the walls were pretty much finished the fire was lit to help the paint dry. Monday dawned fine and we quickly applied the 2nd coat to the walls so that would be all done before Ivan, Malcolm and Adam flew in around mid-morning. Luckily, they did turn up as I did not have anything in the way of spare food if they had not. Even more luckily for Dave they turned up just as he was about to leave to walk out so he got a ride back to the dam!

Now it was time to rip into the outside. Ivan prepped the roof, Adam worked on the barge boards and soffit and the rest of us focused on scrubbing the shadow clad. Quite an alarming amount of dust, colour and debris came off with a good hard scrub and when it came to painting the surface it really sucked up the paint – hope we have enough.

Tuesday was also a lovely day with more prepping and painting happening on the outside. Not long after morning tea Brian wandered in and initially helped Ivan with the roof and then helped with ensuring all the walls had 1 coat of paint on them. Wednesday was showering so some painting happened under the veranda and another coat on the interior trim, the dwangs (stolen to be burnt) were replaced in the woodshed, the small bench was resurrected (legs stolen to be burnt), wood was carried up from the flat below the hut and cut. In the afternoon there was a round of pikelets with jam and cream and a jigsaw puzzle was started with a few dedicated people staying up until it was finished.

Thursday was expected to be an easy day with rain all day but instead it started off with a few showers that then went away. More firewood was done along with thistle pulling and then it was back into painting.  We got enough done that we did not have to worry about running ourselves ragged the next day.  Friday was another lovely day and the second coat on all the external walls, barge boards, soffit and roof was completed. Saturday the helicopter was expected at midday there was a fair bit of sorting out and packing up to do, but some other jobs like the path to the toilet getting more stones on it were also completed. Then it was time for Jean and Jenny to fly back to the dams with the ladders, rubbish, and any other unwanted gear. The others stayed and worked on the baseboards, unfortunately running out of paint before the ones round the back could be completed, another day…… Sunday was also a lovely day and the guys packed up, cleaned up, took the final photos, and walked out cutting a few windfalls along the way.

All in all, a great result only made possible by the help of many people and organisations.

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Kaumatua Tramping Club


Here is the website of a local tramping club, you may be interested in checking out their activities.

Roaring Stag & Cattle Ridge Hut Maintenance Trip

We had 3 members up at Cattle Ridge and amongst the jobs attended to were:

securing the toilet door (the old door had the latch, so the team had to improvise and design a latch), wiping the dirt off the walls using sugar soap and checking on the paint internal condition, cleaning windows, toilet cleaning, drainage checks, baiting rat stations, cutting down vege hazard on the helipad, ensuring the water source is free of debris etc.

During their stay there the team of three had 9 members of the public visit and 6 stay. Such a busy wee hut now.

At Roaring Stag, we had 5 members and 13 public stay throughout the day. Very busy weekend. Jobs at Roaring Stag- spider spray and wiping off external cobwebs, cleaning internally, gutter checking, new rat baits loaded in the poison stations, washing and cleaning windows, toilet cleaning, drainage pipes clearing and flowing, taking out four loads of rubbish – bottles left behind and other undesirable rubbish, track path cleared coming down into Roaring Stag, vegetation leaning against the hut removed.

General Condition looks good going into autumn and winter. The swing bridge repair work looks great.

Photos and article supplied by Ed Trotter on behalf of Wellington NZDA.

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Photo taken by Aaron Smith – H&V Ranger

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Powell Hutt – Friday 26 Feb until 9.30am on Sunday 28 Feb 2021

Photos and report from Brett Gillies – Tararua Range Volunteer Hut Warden.

The hut was full throughout the weekend and many through walkers.

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Duties completed: cleaned both toilets thoroughly, cleaned all window sills in the kitchen and dining room inside and out, cleaned windows on both external doors inside and out, cleaned all SS benches and removed candle wax, inspected the large solar panels and found and reported a fault, inspected the building underneath for any damage etc, checked the water supply levels in both tanks, inspected SS nuts on all stairs for tightness and tightened those which needed tightening, all cookers were cleaned as well as their grill trays and carriers, shifted most of the firewood from outside the woodshed into the wooden boxes in the porch, attached an orange triangle to a tree north of the hut to direct walkers up the hill and attended to the Iron Ranger. Concerns, maintenance, and suggestions listed in report also.

It was a beautiful weekend and so many trampers absolutely appreciated the hut and its amenities and the outstanding views.

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Photo by Wendy Gray

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Aorangi Forest Park Judas Goats Capture Collar & Release Work 2020-2021

Article and photo Aerial View of Aorangi Forest Park-Photographer Fitzy Pig


Targeting collared billy goats that were released in the Aorangi Forest Park in December 2020.

Thermal Imaging & VHF techniques were used to locate the collared billy goats with attached mobs. Locating the goats were time consuming as they are great at hiding from Aerial View, evolution tells us this; as their biggest predator has been via the sky! We then dispatched ground hunters to follow up on these Judas goats and these attached mobs.

The project is going well with not many goats seen on this recent 12-day ground hunting trip; only 15 goats were shot. Watch this space as more work alongside other government and private entities will help us control goat numbers in our forest parks.

I am enjoying being involved in this project and the positive long term Biodiversity outcomes we will achieve.

We are also tidying up the gorse and weeds around the Pinnacles track for you, a combined effort by the Biodiversity and Heritage and Visitor teams.

Happy Hunting & Enjoy the Roar, Fitzy (Biodiversity Ranger)

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Burn Hut – Big Work Party

One of the great weekend walks in the tararua ranges behind Shannon.

Built by the Horowhenua hunting club in 2002, that’s 20 years wear and tear, we needed to bring BURN hut up to top condition.

We were aware of leaking cladding and window issues. On the 5th march our 5-person team and materials were flown In to Burn hut to replace windows and reclad some of the outside.

While there, we repainted the whole hut twice, washed the inside walls and ceiling and had a general spring clean.

This hut is well used by trampers and hunters verified by the logbook. The walk from number 2 dam is about 4 hours. There is a circuit track out to number 1 dam, prone to flooding if wet. Number 2 track is all weather.

This was a team effort so its thanks to TARHC, D.OC. and our very own Horowhenua Hunting Club.

I hope all who use this hut enjoy it, especially the ultimate VIEWS.

That’s all from me, keep on tramping. – Allan Mc Comb. HHC.

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Best Wishes and Kindest regards extended to all and remember feedback or articles or anything you would like to see in next Newsletter, please send to


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