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April 2020 Issue
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Rusty Ruahine bivvy replaced

The rebuilt Toka Bivvy in Ruahine Forest Park. Photo: Rob Brown

A beloved ‘dog-box’ bivvy in Ruahine Forest Park has been replaced by the Backcountry Trust.

Toka Bivouac, which sits on a high shelf on the Ngamoko Range, was installed by the New Zealand Forest Service between 1958 and 1960.

The humble two-man bivvy had rusty cladding, leaks, and its structural tie-downs no longer met the building standard.

It was classified by DOC as ‘minimal maintenance’, meaning it would be removed – not replaced – if it degraded beyond use.

Backcountry Trust manager Rob Brown said the trust was contacted by Feilding man Josh Murray who had recently visited the bivvy and done a baseline inspection.

“[He] approached us keen to get some maintenance work done on this biv around the same time the Backcountry Trust was looking to get a few more maintenance projects going in the Ruahines,” Brown said. “We worked with him to come up with a plan of how best to retain the recreational hunting and tramping opportunity opened up with this small basic shelter.”

The team decided to replace the whole frame and upgrade the construction so wire tie-downs wouldn’t be needed.

Murray built a new frame in a day with hunting mate Jeff Lock, and it was choppered to the location, where the old bivvy had been dismantled.

Volunteers tramped in to lend a hand, and over two 12-hour days, the bivvy was rebuilt with the same dimensions as the old structure. A 260l water tank was also installed because regular users of the biv said the water quality in a nearby tarn was not reliable.

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