Shelter from the Storm


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The story of New Zealand’s backcountry huts.


One of the defining and unique features of the New Zealand outdoors is the backcountry hut. New Zealand has a remarkably diverse network of these huts, unparalleled anywhere else in the world, and for those who venture into our wild places there is often a passionate attachment to these humble structures.

Shelter from the Storm is a landmark publication, the first wide-ranging history of our hut network. The authors provide an overview of who built the huts – tramping and mountaineering clubs, the Department of Internal Affairs, Lands and Survey, New Zealand Forest Service, Park Boards and DOC – as well as why they were built, which includes farming, mining, tourism, tramping and climbing, hunting and deer culling, science and as monuments. For each of these sections the authors profile a wide range of representative huts, and recount the fascinating stories that invariably surround them.

This is a wonderful book, meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated with a huge range of historic and contemporary photographs. Its significance and appeal is far-reaching, as this is a subject that has a genuine resonance with many, many New Zealanders.

About the authors

Shaun Barnett, Wilderness Magazine’s roving editor, started tramping in the Kaweka Ranges as a teenager in Hawkes Bay and since then has tramped extensively throughout New Zealand and also in Tasmania, Alaska, Canada and South America. He holds a degree in ecology from Massey University and a Diploma in Parks & Recreation from Lincoln University and after working for the Department of Conservation, he turned to full-time writing and photography in 1996. He currently edits the Federated Mountain ClubsBulletin, edited New Zealand Wilderness Magazine for some years, and has written the bestselling Bird’s Eye Guides Tramping in New Zealand and Day Walks in New Zealand, North Island Weekend Tramps, Natural New Zealand, and is the co-author of the Montana Award Winning Classic Tramping in New Zealand.
He lives in Wellington with his wife and family.

Rob Brown is one of New Zealand’s leading landscape photographers and writers. The considerable weight and size of his pack is often noted by people who accompany Rob on his frequent trips into the backcountry. His pack is so heavy because on top of the necessary tramping gear and food, he always carries his large-format field camera and the requisite lenses and film. Now considered old technology, this camera has been one of the cornerstones of his career for it has enabled him to produce the remarkable, immensely detailed and beautifully lit photographs that so distinguish his work.
His photography has appeared in many publications, including three acclaimed books, Rakiura: The Wilderness of Stewart Island, the Montana Award-winning Classic Tramping in New Zealand, co-authored with Shaun Barnett, and New Zealand: The Essential Landscape.
Rob Brown lives with his family in Christchurch.

Geoff Spearpoint is a writer and photographer, with an unparalleled knowledge of the New Zealand backcountry. He is the author of Waking to the Hills: Tramping in New Zealand, and the editor of Moirs Guide North: The Otago Southern Alps. He lives in Canterbury.


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