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Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut has been rebuilt, renamed and reopened

The new and easily accessible Kôhanga Atawhai - Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut. Photo: DOC

A hut at Lake Daniell in the Maruia Valley, which has been a popular “first tramp” for generations of Kiwi families, has been rebuilt and is now open for use.

The hut was first built in 1976 as Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut to commemorate the lives of three trampers who were killed in a 1974 landslide which destroyed a fishing club hut across the lake.

The hut has now been renamed Kôhanga Atawhai – Manson Nicholls Hut. Kôhanga Atawhai translates to ‘Conservation Nest’.

Shane Hall, Mâwhera/Greymouth operations manager, says the walk is a great one for families and first-time trampers, taking just 2-3 hours on easy terrain through magnificent red beech forest to reach the hut on the shore of Lake Daniell.

“The hut is north-facing for the sun, has a lake view, and is great for fishing or swimming with a shallow water edge, so the whole family is catered for.

The interior of Kôhanga Atawhai – Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut. Photo: DOC

“The hut has been built with input from the local Maruia School and with future accessibility in mind. For example, it has state of the art composting toilets attached to the hut by a boardwalk. As we gradually upgrade the track, we expect more and more people from the accessibility community will use this facility.

“This is a great place to experience the benefits of many years of conservation work in the area. The area has had regular pest control for the last 20 years, and the forests surrounding the hut are home to kâkâ, bellbird, tûî, robins, kâkâriki and long-tailed bats as well as healthy populations of other small forest birds.”

The new hut has separate hut warden quarters and contains 20 bunks. There are campsites and a cooking shelter outside for camping and day visitor use. Bunk spaces in the hut require a serviced hut ticket and are currently available on a ‘first in, first served’ basis.