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Canterbury Hut gets a spruce up

Enjoying the fruits of their labour - a seat at the hut's new bench. Photo: Supplied

A group of Canterbury volunteers have given the Curtis Memorial Hut a makeover.

Mike Lagan of Geraldine received funding from the Outdoor Recreation Consortium to make some improvements to the four-bunker, which is nestled in the Havelock Valley, next to the Rakaia River and about 20km from the Rangitata Gorge Road end.

“It’s a neat little hut. It’s slightly elevated above the river and has a great view with a nice big window that had just a dirty, grubby little bench underneath it, and I thought, ‘What a waste of a window. Why don’t we put a table and chairs underneath the window and put a new bench on the other side of the hut, so when you’re having a meal you can sit at the table, look down the valley, and have a great view’,” Lagan said.

Lagan, together with cabinet maker Zack Bennett and Bennett’s two sons Jack and Oscar (ages 9 and 5), spent a few days installing the new table and bench, and also constructed a woodshed just outside the hut. The work cost $800, which Lagan said was a bargain compared to some hut projects that require helicopter assistance to transport gear, supplies and volunteers.

There’s 4WD access to the hut, so Lagan and Bennett were able to drive a truck in to do the work. Lagan also received $700 in funding to spruce up the nearby Mistake Flats Hut; he plans to paint it inside and out.

“As the years are going by, a lot of these huts are not getting maintained to what they once were. DOC just simply doesn’t have the means,” Lagan said.

He’s also a member of the South Canterbury Recreational Sportsman Club, which will co-manage Curtis Memorial Hut with DOC.