Date: 14 September 2018
The hut is west of Masterton in the Tararua Forest Park and the closure will affect the popular Powell-Jumbo Circuit.
Department of Conservation Wairarapa Operations Manager Kathy Houkamau says there will be signs and notices at all access points to the hut and information on the DOC website and visitor centres to ensure people are not caught out.
“It is the most popular hut in the park with over 3000 bed nights per year and we are aware the closure will be inconvenient for users.
“There was a huge amount of interest when we asked people last year what they wanted in a new Powell Hut with more than 800 people contributing ideas.”
The capacity remains the same at 32 bunks and will be more user friendly with four separate sleeping areas to increase privacy. The hut will be a similar size and cover a similar footprint.
An extended deck will allow users to enjoy the famous view in more comfort.
Much of the hut will be pre-constructed off site and undercover and flown up to the site in pieces by helicopter.
The new hut will be built on most of the piles of the old hut, which are still in good condition, plus a few new piles.
At 1200m and above the treeline, it is a very exposed and challenging place to work and construction time will definitely be influenced by the weather.
“We are taking a cautious approach and advising people that the hut will be closed for six months, but we hope to have it open ahead of schedule and will be providing regular updates.
The existing hut has suffered from weather tightness problems that has weakened the overall structure, as it was built with solid panels, as opposed to conventional timber framing with lining and cladding.
Jim Flack, Ranger, DOC Wairarapa Office
Mobile: +64 27 568 9246