Date: 15 February 2022
There are 57 private huts located in the Ōrongorongo Valley, some dating as far back as the 1920s. They were built and licensed prior to the land becoming public conservation land.
Some of the licences for holding private huts are beginning to expire and, as the huts are on public conservation land, licenses cannot be renewed. All licenses will expire by 31 December 2050. DOC is working with the Ōrongorongo Hut Club to develop the process for phasing the private huts into public access and will also work with individual hut owners.
Huts deemed suitable will become available through a public booking system as their private licences expire, so phasing the huts into public access will take some time.
DOC Operations Manager Angus Hulme-Moir says making the huts publicly bookable will allow them to remain on public conservation land for future use.
“The Ōrongorongo Valley is very popular, and many families have enjoyed unique backcountry experiences in these huts over the years,” says Angus. “One of the principles of public conservation land is open access to the public who own it, so making the huts publicly accessible will open the experience to more people.
“We are pleased to be able to have this as an option, which will allow for preservation of the valley’s heritage in these huts, while upholding those important values of public land.”
The huts had all been destined for removal once their licenses expired, but a provision was made in the 2019 Conservation Management Strategy to allow the huts to remain, as long as they moved out of private only access. This decision acknowledges the history and personal connections with the private huts.
The huts will be managed and maintained by an organisation or organisations outside of DOC, and become publicly bookable as they move from private use to public.
All suitable private huts in the Remutaka Forest Park are required to be publicly bookable by 2050, so the phasing-in process will take some time to implement.
The huts were authorised with a license which expires upon the date of expiry, the death of the licence holder OR on 31 December 2050 (whichever comes first).
Current hut license holders can choose if they would like to retain private ownership until their license ends, up until 2050.
Private huts will become managed by a public group or groups. Expressions of interest for management will be opened to the public and be assessed against selection criteria, which will include a requirement that the huts will be publicly bookable.
Public organisations interested in taking on management of the huts will be invited to submit an expression of interest proposal for their management and maintenance.
There are six DOC huts in the Orongorongo Valley, which will continue to be bookable online through the DOC website.
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