AORANGI RESTORATION TRUST

The Aorangi Restoration Trust consists of a group of likeminded people from a wide variety of backgrounds who have joined together for a common goal.

They want to see the Aorangi Forest Park in the South Wairarapa, and adjoining lands returned to their former glory and they have the will to make that happen. They are supported by many individuals and organizations who also want to see that goal realized.

The Trust meets regularly to go over projects and work programs. Shadowing the Trust is a Steering Group made up of representatives of the major groups involved in this project. The Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council, TB Free NZ, local Iwi and recreational hunting representatives along with several Trust members.

The Aorangi Forest Park is a designated recreational hunting area which holds a lot of appeal to hunters and is very well utilised. The goal of the trust is to restore the normal biodiversity of the area to its original state while still allowing for a great hunting experience.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a herd of Windsor blood-line red deer were liberated in and around the Aorangi Range. To this day the predominant strain is still very much Windsor based. Hunters a very supportive of the trust initiative and SCINZ have joined in assisting the Trust with pest control.

SCINZ has funded the purchase of a number of traps. A local SCINZ member, Wayne Roper, has committed to manage them. This includes regular checking, baiting where necessary and generally helping the Trust control the pests. Bird life is thriving along with the general biodiversity which includes manageable numbers of Windsor strain red deer.

The future of this herd looks very positive with the continuing progress and management.

LAME DUCK HUT

Lame Duck Hut is jointly owned by the West Coast Branch of the NZDA & Safari Club International New Zealand Chapter.

We are responsible for the hut maintenance, however as it is situated on the Karangarua River in the Westland National Park the Department of Conservation has an interest.

The hut was built in 2008 by members of NZDA West Coast and SCINZ to replace the derelict Lame Duck Hut. James Scott donated the helicopter time that was required. Originally part of the old McCormick’s Hut, leftover from the upgrading of Christmas Flat Hut was to be used. Unfortunately, while being lifted a gust of wind caught the chopper and the pilot had to jettison. The site was ready, and the piles and trusses were there so all that was required was to finish the floor, build walls and clad with corrugated iron. Most of this work was carried out by NZDA West Coast Branch. The hut is now available for use by the public with hut fees forwarded to both organisations for maintenance.

STAN’S HUT

Stan’s Hut owes its existence to former Westland hunting concession holder and foundation member, Stan Peterson.

Originally operating out of a tent camp Stan was quick to realise how much more suitable it would be to accommodate his clients in a comfortable, basic hut in the high rainfall, Whataroa Valley. He duly applied for and was granted permission to locate a hut high on the Spencer Range in 1985. 

As Stan’s guiding days ended, he decided to gift it to SCI(NZ). As hut restorer and custodian, Gary Mullings comments, “This is where I became involved.”

At the end of winter a few months later, armed with new trusses made in our garage, a new steel tray roof, sheets of 20mm ply, some new insulation, a pile of wood and all we thought we would need, we returned and met James Scott and his trusty helicopter at the pick-up point alongside the river. The first trip comprised of myself and a heap of stuff in the back and a sling load of gear hanging underneath.

The trip in seemed to take forever, which was understandable, as we were very heavy. Just to complicate things there was snow everywhere and the hut was a hell of a mess. Two trips later with my son Lee-Roy and his mate Garry Hall we had all the gear in. It was just on dark, so we settled in. Conditions were so bad we had to sleep on our survival blankets on the mattresses as they were wet.

Next day we took the roof off, put new trusses on, followed by the ply and then the tray roof. We also added a small extension as a dry room and dried the whole thing out. What a difference!

Since then, SCI(NZ) and DOC have arranged for retention of the hut. Dave Waters from DOC Franz Josef has been a huge help. We cannot thank James Scott enough. He did not charge for any helicopter time. Thanks too for the input from Lee-Roy and Garry Hall.

This hut has been a great base for hunts in the surrounding area. Some SCI(NZ) members have taken some notable chamois trophies from the rugged and magnificent terrain nearby. Free for use of SCINZ members. For non-members, a daily charge applies.

Contact Marcus Pinney for bookings. 
1925 Whataroa Highway, Whataroa 7886,
Phone 021 328 197 / Email: pinney@xtra.co.nz

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