Newsletter, June 2016


Pete & Michelle Cunningham, Steve McGlone, Arif Matthee & Kath Ballantine


Download the printed version of the newsletter (10 pages colour), as a small 2 megabyte PDF file. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar program installed on your computer. Broadband connection preferable.)

PRESIDENT's PIECE > Support our Huts & Tracks

We have a fantastic network of huts and tracks in our National Parks and in the rest of the conservation estate. However, it is largely unappreciated and often under-used, especially in back country areas. It is estimated that only about one-third of users pay hut fees and a high proportion do not even bother to fill in the hut books. Let’s face it, most of us take the back-country network for granted and expected the government via the Department of Conservation (DOC) to continue to pick up the tab as for the past 50 years. Well, we need to get real and understand that this is not going to happen.

DOC is providing Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC) with some commitment to not remove huts. But there is a sinking lid for maintenance of under-used facilities and this includes tracks as well as huts. The large increase in the numbers of visitors to our front-country is putting pressure on the DOC budget and priorities for recreation services. We can bang on about tourism not paying its way. But we also have to take more responsibility as a club and a community for many of our favourite lesser-visited areas.

We should remember the good old days. Prior to about 1970, Nelson Tramping Club mainly relied on the NZ Forest Service cullers huts, or we contributed to construction efforts (e.g. Third House Shelter) or we built them ourselves without significant external funding (e.g. Rocks Hut and the associated track.)

These community inputs are beginning to happen again through the Outdoor Recreation Consortium (ORC) administered by FMC and funded by DOC. There have been about ten ORC grants to projects in the Top of the South. This includes NTC’s renovation of Flora Hut and our forthcoming move of Mt Fell Hut (see below). We can be very proud of Flora Hut after a total of more than 800 person-hours of effort from club volunteers over three years. It now resplendent in appearance and the linings, insulation, improved fireplaces and new water supply have made the hut much more attractive to families – especially outside the short summer season.

The ORC programme over the past 2–3 years has been very successful in preserving and improving many other iconic huts in this region and nationally. Just as important as these tangible outcomes, is the enhanced cooperative spirit within clubs, the outdoor community and with DOC personnel. It is all about people working together on common goals. This is leading to positive outcomes for the future of our back country hut and track network.

So... here’s your take-home points:

  • Get out there into our lesser -trodden areas (NTC is always looking for new trips and leaders).
  • Encourage others to get into the hills & join NTC.
  • Share your stories/experiences in the outdoors
  • Post your trip photos on our FaceBook page.
  • Make sure you and your friends have a valid Hut Pass and fill in the hut Visitor Books.
  • Always leave huts and tracks in a slightly better state than you find them. Cumulatively, this can make a big difference (DOC may only get there every 2–3 years on a reduced maintenance schedule).
  • Take part in organised working bees
  • Lobby politicians for better funding of DOC and continued support of the ORC.

Happy tramping, rain or shine! 

Pat Holland,


PUB NIGHT @ Turf Hotel, Stoke

Date: Wednesday 13 July. Place: Main Road, Stoke.
: 7.00pm

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.

CLUB NIGHT @ Nelson Intermediate School

Date: Monday 13 June. Place: Nelson Intermediate School staffroom, Titipahi Street, Nelson. Time: 7.30pm.
Speakers: Mike Drake & Dave Quested

Mount Cook to Arthur’s Pass via the Southern Alps – Part 1

The good, the bad and the ugly aspects of walking from Tasman Lake to Vane Stream (head of the Wanganui River). The next stage (Part 2) will be continued from Vane Stream to Arthur’s Pass later this year.

Come along and share our experiences of walking up the Murchison Glacier, traversing the Garden of Eden and skipping over a few passes along the way.

Silvano Lorandi and Lawrie Halkett will give a brief update on our next project: the relocation and renovation of Mt Fell Hut.

SPECIAL REPORT - Flora Hut Renovation

The weekend of 16-17 April saw a flurry of activity at Flora to bring the project to completion. This followed huge efforts in February by Silvano, Lawrie, Ian and Graeme to line the ceilings and walls of the western bunk-room with plywood, similar to what had been done for the eastern bunk-room in 2015. This had been very fiddly due to the panels being placed between existing structures rather than over.

So, on Saturday a team of eight assembled at Flora Saddle. The morning had been balmy in Nelson and the weather remained fine and calm for the whole weekend, although on arrival at Flora Hut, we were greeted by an impressive hoar frost.

The main tasks were to complete the polyurethaning of the plywood panels and to prepare and paint all other exposed interior woodwork in both bunk-rooms. This required a sustained effort over both days. It was especially tricky not to get paint on the panels.

On the Sunday, there was some relief for the tired work-crew with the arrival of four more workers. The bunk-rooms have come up a treat with the off-white structural timbers standing out from the dark wall and ceiling panels.

In a parallel effort, Graeme and Bob installed a water system from the side creek down to a spigot outside the hut on the loo side. This included a sediment trap and 100m of pipe which proved tricky to lay so the water would  flow without priming. The open fireplaces were enhanced by galvanised hoods and wall vents were also installed. These improvements have largely solved the problem of smoke and the fireplaces now work well to heat the rooms that were cold and drafty prior to the renovation.

Participants (April): Pat Holland, Ian and Marilyn Morris, Graeme Ferrier, Bob Janssen, Marie Lenting, Kathy Smith, Steve McGlone, Dion Pont, Kate Krawcyzk, John Whibley, Tim Tyler (& Sophie).

NTC has now met the broad aims of the three-year project with the full renovation of the hut to a high standard: firstly to preserve the hut for the future whilst retaining its character, secondly to improve the experience especially for young families and thirdly to extend the season for the hut into winter. Hopefully we can organise a semi-formal opening/PR effort in the near future.

Thanks for the excellent support from club members – especially Ian, Graeme and Silvano; from DOC staff Tom Young and Matt Page; and from the Outdoor Recreation Fund.

Pat Holland


LABOUR WEEKEND 22–24 October

NTC received an Outdoor Recreation Grant of $10,000 to assist DOC with the relocation of this key hut in the Richmond Ranges. Without this project, DOC would likely have removed the NZFS six-bunker, as it is located on a slip zone and is regarded as under-used. This would also threaten continued maintenance of the track up from Middy Hut in the Pelorus valley which has strong club associations (e.g. 1960’s water barrel).

Silvano Lorandi recently participated in the initial shift of the hut about 250m to a new site in early June by DOC and the Air Force, using a heavy-lift helicopter from Ohakea. The chopper also brought in a large quantity of building materials that we had ordered. NTC, with assistance from Marlborough and Waimea TCs, now need to construct new foundations, winch the hut on and then do some renovations and a range of other tasks (e.g. water tank, toilet, fireplace).

We do need able-bodied workers to assist with the digging associated with the foundation work and new toilet. It is likely the first major bee will be four days over Labour Weekend, 22-24 October.

A local helicopter can carry six people, albeit at high cost. So we will run a club trip for those wishing to tramp in. (It takes 4–5 hours from the Timms Creek road-end). Jot this in your diary and watch the trip list for more details on an exciting and very worthwhile project.

Pat Holland


Silvano Wins SAR Award

Congratulations to Silvano Lorandi on his receiving a SAR award for his efforts in a small team that located and rescued a pair lost in a blizzard on the ridge to Angelus Hut. The dramatic rescue occured last winter in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Excerpt from Nelson Mail article...

“Two tourists, an Irish woman and Latvian man, had set out on a trekking adventure through Nelson Lakes National Park.

It was 5.30pm on September 5, 2015 but as snowfall increased the pair began wandering blindly. It soon became clear to the pair they would not find their destination, Angelus Hut.

They were in trouble. Night was falling and a storm was on its way. By chance, a small pocket in Mount Robert Ridge had a scrap of cellphone reception.

As the brutal weather took hold, they stopped amid a rocky outcrop and called for help. It did not take long before hypothermia gripped their bodies as a minus 20 degrees Celsius wind-chill factor whipped the mountains. The pair waited.

What unfolded over the next seven hours has led to national recognition for Walker and two other volunteers - the Operational Gold Award at the New Zealand Search and Rescue Council Awards.”

Read the rest of the Nelson Mail piece here:


It is imperative that we fool-proof a few systemic loopholes in our policies. So: If you’ve borrowed our PLBs for a club (or private) tramp:

Email your trip intentions to:

Pat Holland, Lawrie Halkett AND Chris Louth before leaving.

They are the SAR contacts, especially if the hire shops are closed, (e.g. after 4pm.) In a SAR situation, the police will want to know the names and details of your party.

SAVE TIME... don't re-invent the wheel:

Download & print out the Intentions Form PDF from our website.

SNOW TRIPS... here's the rule:

In snow, all members of the party must carry ice-axes & crampons, and know how to use them.


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