Newsletter, February 2015

Kathy Smith


Download the printed version of the newsletter (8 pages colour), as a small 1.8 megabyte PDF file. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar program installed on your computer. Broadband connection preferable.)


Contentment is not ‘having what you want’, but wanting what you have. Nowhere is this more true than when you’re stuck in a hut in the back of beyond. You can’t phone for a pizza, or press a button to switch on some shallow entertainment. All you’ve got is what you’ve lugged into the Hills on your back. It’s back to basics.

On a New Years trip through Nelson Lakes, my friends and I battled through what DOC said was ‘impassable’ windfall up the D’Urville River. I stumbled over a fallen tree, and on my knees, noticed an aluminium drink bottle. God only knows how vital that extra water container became as we sweated for nine days in the summer heat over three 1000m passes. Every drop of water was savoured; every scrap of food eaten. We certainly valued what we had.

Ironically, in that same patch of treefall, I also found a lost iPhone 4S, a luxury item which was totally useless in that environment.

I was recently reading this enlightening piece: “Materialism doesn’t satisfy because it’s tyrannical, and humans were born to be free. We find we don’t own the house—the house owns us ... We become slaves to gadgets and garments. And after they’re purchased, delivered and installed, we enjoy a fleeting sense of pleasure. But they still dominate, dictate and demand, “Press me, polish me, patch me, paint me, prune me, plaster me!” Case in point? I am now addicted to that iPhone.

Perhaps tramping is the antithesis of our consumeristic culture? It’s thumbing the nose at all those TV adverstisements that tell us we can’t be happy without purchasing product X,Y or Z. In the Hills we discover the truth that what really matters is water, food, warmth and shelter. And if you’re lucky, good company. Maybe even real friendship...

See you at pub & club nights....

Ray Salisbury,
Newsletter Editor


1. Position: Committee Member

2. Place of birth: Greymouth

3. Occupation: Retail assistant, Hunting & Fishing, Richmond

4. Been a member for: 3 years.

5. How have you benefitted from being a member? I have got to tramp to lots of places I didn’t know about. I’ve been to places I wouldn’t have gone to alone. I also have met lots of awesome people whose company I really enjoy.

6. Best trip was: Travers–Sabine/Blue Lake/Lake Angelus circuit over five days.

7. Funniest moment was: My friend and I got stuck on a narrow track with a fellow tramper who wouldn’t stop talking. As soon as the track widened I bolted, leaving my friend to have her ears chewed!

8. Scariest moment was: My first time using crampons returning along a steep ridge from  Peanter Peak. (Nelson Lakes.) Luckily, I had some awesome people to support me.

9. Favourite tramping hut is: Angelus Hut – it’s more the location than the hut.

10. What wild place would you put at the top of your ‘bucket list?’  Ladakh – in northeast India.

CLUBNITES > Put on your calendar!

Monday 2 March > PUB NIGHT
From 7pm, Sprig & Fern bar, 126 Queen Street, Richmond.

Catch up with club members and talk about upcoming trips.

Bring along maps and ideas so that we can fill the programme for the next couple of months.

Email: Kate Krawczyk for info.

Monday 9 February > Club Night - SHOW 'n' TELL
7.30pm, Nelson Intermediate School, Tipahi St, Nelson South
Bring a USB memory stick with some shots of your recent tramping holidays. 10 minutes maximum for each presentation.
Gold Coin donation

Sat & Sunday 14–15 March > Flora Hut Working Bee

 We need your building skills to fix up this historic hut.

Contact President Lawrie Halkett. Email him now.

Monday 6 April > PUB NIGHT
From 7pm, The Free House, 95 Collingwood Street, Nelson City

Catch up with club members and talk about upcoming trips.

Bring along maps and ideas so that we can fill the programme for the next couple of months.

Email: Kate Krawczyk for info.

FLORA HUT RENO > How you can help

A sub-committee is busy with planning, quantity surveying, negotiating with DOC and ordering materials for the next stage of the renovation of this historic hut. We have a $6,500 grant for materials from the FMC Huts & Tracks fund. Now we need you to refurbish fireplaces/chimneys, line the firewood compartment, line the bunk rooms, paint and clean up.  Even a half-day contribution will be welcome.

Further info & car-pooling: Email > Lawrie Halkett > Phone 544 4096.

FACEBOOK PAGE > Join in the fun!

Kate Krawczyk has spearheaded another great initiative... this time it’s our very own virtual pub night, a.k.a., a club Facebook page.

Yep, we’ve finally embraced the digital age, so get used to it, Luddites!
On this social networking website you may:

  • Share your photos of a tramping trip
  • Share your opinions & trip ideas
  • Keep up-to-date with what’s happening

Remember, ‘sharing is caring’... so keep all your comments positive on this forum. Here’s the link:

COBB VALLEY TENT CAMP > Historic Renovation

This restoration is similar to what NTC is doing with nearby Flora Hut.
We thought you might see the parallels...

"It was the last survivor of a once thriving population. Location: Cobb Valley; condition: none too flash. But with a good bunch of enthusiastic local helpers and support from far and wide, the Takaka DOC team rescued this last one of its kind...
...this, however, was not an endangered critter, but an unassuming pole-and-canvas refuge.

Tent camps were introduced in the 1930s by the Department of Internal Affairs to provide shelter for deer cullers. During the 1960s the New Zealand Forest Service operated a hunter training camp at Dip Flat and 500 men went through the gruelling programme under the watchful eye of NZFS ranger Harry Ferris, who was present at this event.

During these years, hundreds of tent camps were constructed in the backcountry. Many cullers, hunters, track cutters and trampers developed affection for living in them.

In early November, a crowd from all over the country gathered in the Cobb to celebrate the re-opening of the restored camp. Max Polglaze, now resident of Otago, was the NZFS ranger who built this Tent Camp in 1973. He was also present. (see pic below left)


Local DOC ranger John Taylor (above right) led the restoration project. He said “When we found the camp was true to the old prescriptions and the last one left, we knew some action was required. Once we put the word out, we had an embarrassing number of offers of assistance. This project really struck a chord with a lot of people. The canvas did not cost us a cent!”
The restoration had to be historically accurate to truly reflect what these camps were once like. Materials were sourced from nearby, beech and manuka poles for the superstructure, cedar for the fireplace while the benches, stools and platforms are fashioned from red beech with an axe and an adze.

Also present was well-known backcountry author, Shaun Barnett, who reflected:

“The restoration of the tent camp is one of the most important efforts by DOC in recent times to preserve the heritage of the deer culling era. Staff members have applied traditional skills now rarely practiced to restore this rustic structure—and all on a shoe-string budget. DOC engaged the local community, who responded with passion and generosity ... it’s a fine example of DOC and the community combining efforts to do something good.”

Thanks to the restoration, we have a fully functioning tent camp, one that the public can stay and in and appreciate, as a living example of how the cullers once lived.”

edited off the DOC Intranet. Found by B. Halkett

NTC Editor Ray Salisbury and his wife Lynette were also present to film the event for a local TV station. While the ‘real’ trampers bivvied under the stars, the Salisburys christened the two mattresses inside the rustic renovated dwelling.


Ray Salisbury is launching a series of Photography Tours for beginners, or old enthusiasts who need a refresher course to find their mojo.

This will definitely improve your camera craft & jumpstart your hobby.

>>> We need 1-2 guys to fill spaces on 6-8 March roadtrip.


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