Explore some of New Zealand's historic backcountry huts. Built for wild animal control, sheep mustering, recreation, and a range of other purposes these huts provide a glimpse into part of New Zealand's rich outdoor history.

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The backcountry of New Zealand contains a heritage of about 1,400 huts that is unequalled anywhere in the world. These huts were built for:

  • wild animal control (~750)
  • sheep mustering (~500)
  • recreation (~150)
  • a range of other purposes including prospecting, scientific studies and castaway sustenance.

Others began life as schools and homes and later became huts. These huts have heritage value as the only physical remnant of these activities.

Because the huts were built in remote locations the provision of building materials was a big constraint. Often the resources available on site were exploited, with the result that many old crafts were applied for the last times including: splitting, hewing, pit sawing and cob. Alternatively, if materials were transported to the site, it was on the backs of men or packhorses, and this strongly influenced the design like the use of sheet tin cladding that was carried rolled up. The result is vernacular buildings that are physically distinctive from those found closer to civilisation.

DOC is identifying a representative selection of key historic huts that can be managed long term to conserve this heritage and allow its appreciation. It is intended to have interpretation signs provided for each historic hut.

DOC actively manages these sites representing this theme:



  • Bog Inn Hut, 1969, Maniapoto
  • Mangatutu Hut, Maniapoto (destroyed in 2012 with no plans for repair)
  • Musterers' Hut, Coromandel
  • Pinnacles Hut, Kauaeranga Valley Historic Reserve 
  • Poley Bay Musterers' Hut, 1900, Hauraki
  • Wildlife Hut, Maniapoto

Bay of Plenty

East Coast/Hawke’s Bay


  • Glacier Hut, 1923, Tongariro National Park
  • Kaikawaka Villa, 1933, Tongariro Forest Park
  • Stanfields Whare, 1959, Kaimanawa Forest Park
  • Waihohonu Hut, 1904, Tongariro National Park


  • Camphouse, 1855/1899, Mt Egmont-Taranaki
  • Downes Hut, 1920, Whanganui River
  • Whakahoro Hut (former school house), 1946, Whanganui River



West Coast



  • Ben Avon Hut, 1930, Dingle Burn 
  • Callery’s House & Callery’s Battery Building, 1889-1850, Golden Point
  • Macetown Village, built 1862 – 1914


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