Back country huts in Whirinaki Forest Park will continue to be maintained to high levels under a new agreement between the Rotorua Branch of New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and Department of Conservation.
This new partnership will see NZDA carrying out wild animal control and maintenance work to some of the backcountry huts and surrounds on DOC’s behalf in Whirinaki Forest Park. In return for this work members of the Rotorua branch of NZDA will be able to utilise free access to five back country huts. These huts are: Upper Whirinaki, Mangakahika, Moerangi, Upper Te Hoe and Whangatawhia (Skips).
Last week saw a team of eight from Rotorua NZDA fly into the Upper Whirinaki Hut along with a couple of DOC rangers to complete the first weekend of planned working bees in these remote and popular huts. Even though the weather was against them, they managed to complete repainting of the hut inside and out, gathering of winter firewood and a general clear up of the area surrounding the hut. There was even enough time for a couple of early morning hunts.
Darryn Cosgrave president of the Rotorua Branch NZDA who was part of the team effort was pleased with the weekend. “The weekend was a success because two groups came together with common ground. I would like to thank DOC who were extremely accommodating and put in that special effort to make the weekend a success. I would also like to thank the eight members of the Rotorua Branch for their extra special effort and hard work to prove to DOC that we have the credibility to be able to carry this type of work out.”
Earl Rewi, Programme Manager for Visitor Assets in Whirinaki Forest Park agreed. “It is a great example of how continued dialogue and sharing of ideas can lead to benefits for all parties – especially when in the past there hasn’t really been a relationship between the Department [of Conservation] and hunters. The team did a great job and we look forward to the ongoing maintenance scheduled to continue in the other huts within the Park in the near future.”