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October 2018 Issue
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Bums back on seats

Top Maropea Hut

A group of trampers has helped restore a historic Ruahine hut after furniture in the hut was destroyed by vandals.

Built in 1958, Top Maropea Hut is one of the original NZ Forest Service huts and has been declared a historic hut by DOC. 

The four-bunker was the first backcountry hut Robb Kloss stayed in after emigrating to New Zealand from the US 25 years ago. He estimates he has visited it more than 50 times since.

“It’s a place I just love,” Kloss said.

But recently two of the huts’ historic bench seats had been burned. In the hut book, someone had written they reached the hut late one night and burned the seats to keep warm.

The new seats take pride of place, in front of the fire.

“It really upset me,” Kloss said. “Bums had sat on those seats for 60-odd years and people had taken care of that place for decades. To see it treated like that was really gutting.”

Kloss, who works for the Department of Corrections, set about rebuilding three new seats as part of a community service programme and soon strapped one of the new 7kg seats to his back and headed for the hut.

“When I saw them, I just about had tears in my eyes they looked so good.

“The fact people could burn these things, I find it just too incredible to think about. We need to take care of these places.”

Two other trampers later helped haul the other two seats up.

“I often see the same names in the hut book who keep coming through. Hopefully, they appreciate the benches are back.”