View of Kōhanga Atawhai – Manson Nicholls Hut from the jetty
Image: Cam Jones (DOC) | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A hut at Lake Daniell in the Maruia Valley, near Springs Junction in the West Coast area which has been a popular “first tramp” for many generations of kiwi families has been rebuilt and is now open for use.

Date:  03 July 2020

The hut was first built in 1976 as “Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut” to commemorate the lives of 3 trampers who were killed in a 1974 landslide which destroyed a fishing club hut across the lake.

The hut has now been renamed “Kōhanga Atawhai – Manson Nicholls Hut”. Kōhanga Atawhai translates to “Conservation Nest”.

Shane Hall, Māwhera/Greymouth Operations Manager, says the walk is a great one for families and first time trampers, taking just  2 to 3 hours on easy terrain through magnificent red beech forest to reach the new hut on the shore of Lake Daniell.

“The hut is north-facing for the sun, has a lake view, and is great for fishing or swimming with a shallow water edge, so the whole family is catered for."

“The hut has been built with input from the local Maruia School and with future accessibility in mind. For example, it has state of the art composting toilets attached to the hut by a boardwalk. As we gradually upgrade the track, we expect more and more people from the accessibility community will use this facility."

“This is a great place to experience the benefits of many years of conservation work in the area. The area has had regular pest control for the last 20 years, and the forests surrounding the hut are home to kākā, bellbird, tūī, robins, kākāriki and long-tailed bats as well as healthy populations of other small forest birds.”

The new hut has separate hut warden quarters and contains 20 bunks. There are camp sites and a cooking shelter outside for camping and day visitor use. Bunk spaces in the hut require a serviced hut ticket and are currently available on a “first in first served” basis.

Beginning this summer season, the hut will be added to the DOC booking system and bookings will be required to secure a bunk.

Kōhanga Atawhai – Manson Nicholls Hut.

Background information

The original hut on this site, Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut, was constructed in 1976 by members of the Christchurch Tramping Club and The Lake Daniell Fishing Club in memory of three young trampers who lost their lives nearby in 1974. Brian and Sharon Manson, who had been married only 6 weeks, and Phillip Nicholls were killed by a landslide while they sheltered from appalling weather in the old Lake Daniell Fishing Club Hut which was located on the opposite side of the lake.

The Manson-Nicholls Memorial Hut was built from untreated timber and as a result, much of the subfloor and framing structure was rotting. The damage was too extensive to be practical to repair.


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