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Tongariro Great Walk hut to be rebuilt

A great location but not so great hut – Oturere is to be replaced. Photo: Heiko Valenta

The aging Oturere Hut on the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk is set to be rebuilt and expanded.

A DOC spokesperson said the 51-year-old hut is nearly at the end of its life and “isn’t at the Great Walks standard”.

“It was fit for purpose in 1970 but no longer meets the demands put on it by serving both hut users and campers,” the spokesperson said.

DOC is contracting an architect to design a replacement for the 26 bunker but DOC wouldn’t comment on how much the new hut would cost. However, tender documents show the budget is around $1 million and construction should start in March 2023 and be completed by the end of June. The new hut would be expanded to 30 bunks and be located beside where the old hut stood. It would also have solar panels, LED lighting and a sheltered deck. The old hut would be demolished and the warden’s quarters would be replaced. 

The tender states the existing hut is cramped during busy periods, with up to 40 people using its limited facilities as there is no cooking shelter for the nearby campsite. It said visitor feedback “indicates people are not having the quality of experience expected from Great Walk accommodation”, the main issue being lack of space.

The design requirements include using “the concept of a meeting house/marae” and “a feeling of being entombed in the body when inside the hut”.

It would also be designed to reduce the carbon footprint of the hut and to “provide future proof solutions for hut technology”.