Historic Landsborough Rangers Hut

This is one of the oldest government deer culling huts, and the only ‘tent frame’ hut, left in New Zealand.

The hut was first used as accommodation for Public Works Department (PWD) workers building the Haast to Makarora road during the 1930s Depression.

Deer culling on the West Coast

Deer were introduced to New Zealand for recreational hunting in the 1850s. By the 1930s deer populations had swelled dramatically and in response, organised government culling began.

Landsborough Rangers Hut. Photo: J Breen.
Landsborough Rangers Hut

These early days of government deer culling are firmly part of New Zealand’s cultural mythology. This period is characterised by the rugged men who worked long hard days in the back country, often in bad weather, and without the aid of tracks, reliable maps, huts, and air transportation. In South Westland culling operations were more difficult due to the rough inaccessible country.

In 1941, in response to the need to provide better living conditions for their hunters,  fourteen of these ex-PWD huts were purchased by the Internal Affairs Department in order to create base camps in the South Westland / Makarora area. Two huts were taken to the Landsborough Flats, and joined together with a porch, becoming what is now known as Landsborough Rangers Hut.

Frank Erceg's record of service.
Frank Erceg's record of service

This hut became associated with some legendary figures from these early culling days, such as Bert Barra and Frank Erceg. The framing in the hut bears witness to its varied history with graffiti dating back to the Depression era, and the golden years of deer culling with the names of deer cullers who stayed there and their annual tallies recorded beside their names. 

Getting there

The hut sits at the north eastern end of the Landsborough River Flats, between Quarry Creek and Parasite Creek.

This hut no longer available for overnight accommodation.

 

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