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March 2018 Issue
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Powell Hut rebuild delayed

The rebuild of Powell Hut in Tararua Forest Park has been delayed, but DOC has revealed early plans for an expanded, modernised facility.

The hut was initially scheduled to be demolished and rebuilt in January, but DOC now hopes to start the project in October and open it next summer.

DOC ranger Jim Flack said the design for the hut still wasn’t finalised and DOC had decided to delay the project to prevent disrupting trampers during the summer.

“In an area with 47 huts it’s by far the most popular and we didn’t want to inconvenience people,” Flack said.

The hut would be expanded from 28 to 32 bunks, split between four bunk rooms, with two rooms of 10 bunks and two rooms of six bunks. It would also feature an expanded deck, a large foyer for boots and drying clothing, and a large living area with a kitchen.

The design was based on consultation, including a survey of more than 700 people.

“We’ve designed it for what modern users are looking for,” Flack said. “The key piece of feedback was that people really enjoyed the view at the hut, so the new deck will be about three times the size of the existing deck and will include seating.

“People also said they wanted more privacy, so we opted for four bunk rooms.”

The new hut is expected to cost $300,000 and will be built on the site of the existing hut. It is being rebuilt after engineers found it was unsafe in high winds. DOC is still advising the public not to use the old hut in winds over 180km/h.