North Otago Deerstalkers celebrate the completion of Kahikatea Lodge
IntroductionA new hut in a treasured backcountry spot is ready to go after a five year effort by the North Otago Branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA).
Date: 21 July 2023
The Waianakarua Scenic Reserve is a slice of backcountry very close to Oamaru and Dunedin.
“Its steep valleys and dense forest make it a spectacular place to get in touch with the elements and nurture backcountry skills,” says Barry Wilson the North Otago NZDA Kahikatea Lodge Project Manager.
Opening at the beginning of August, the new Kahikatea Lodge is located on Kahikatea Ridge and provides a base camp for people hunting deer, pigs and wild sheep in the reserve.
“The hut will be available to the public and will provide welcome respite from the changeable weather in this part of the reserve, keeping hunting parties and skilled trampers safe,” says Mr Wilson. Bookings are managed by the club who will own and maintain the hut.
“The Deerstalkers have put in a huge effort to get the hut built,” says Shay van der Hurk, DOC’s Senior Ranger Coastal Otago District.
“It’s clearly a labour of love, from planning and working with the Department on design, to raising funds and construction.
“I even heard a story of one club member walking out of the hills to get some timber after the builders ran short. His wife picked it up from the hardware store and he ended up carrying this two and a half metre length of timber back to the hut. A real team effort, going the extra mile.”
The hut sailed through its DOC inspection, with the quality of work evident throughout, making the inspector’s job easy.
Major funders for Kahikatea Lodge are the Backcountry Trust, the Otago Community Trust and the B A & L A Wilson Family Trust. Many other local businesses, trusts and individuals contributed to make the project possible.
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