Tramping huts book

'Shelter from the Storm: the story of New Zealand’s backcountry huts' - the latest book from Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint covers nearly 200 years of unique New Zealand architectural history. The book documents the history of the network of over 1,000 working and recreational huts that are located deep within New Zealand’s mountains and forests, and profiles 90 of the most emblematic.

Ref: JTD-04A-03426, West Auckland Research Centre
The book also covers the history of several different hut-building eras, including pastoral huts, mining huts, those built by tramping and mountaineering clubs, and various Government departments including Internal Affairs. Included are a large number of contemporary and historical photographs as well as specially commissioned works. 

“Nowhere else in the world has a network of huts like ours, and they’re a defining feature of New Zealand’s backcountry. The stories behind how and why they were built are often fascinating,” says co-author Shaun Barnett.

Ref: JTD-02A-03115, West Auckland Research Centre
“The oldest date back to the mid-1800s, and originally housed gold miners or shepherds acting as boundary keepers. Many of the earliest were built of stone, but later corrugated iron became the material of choice. It’s incredibly durable, and can last a long time too, especially on the drier eastern side of the Southern Alps. .. The most remote huts take 3 or 4 days of tramping to reach, and when you arrive at these places, in all sorts of weather, and realise that in many cases they were built by people carrying the materials in on their backs, it lends a real sense of thankfulness to the whole experience,” says Shaun.  

Shaun also notes that “even after planes made air-drops possible, things didn’t always run to plan. Colin Todd Hut, for example, took eight attempts, including one plane crash, and even then materials ended up on the wrong side of Mt Aspiring.”

Ref: 996-598, Photographer: Gordon Scott, Sir George Grey Special Collections
See Auckland Libraries holdings of this book.