Recently, the exNZFS team led by John McCann got the all new Winchcombe bivouac on site in the Tararuas. The idea to reinstate Winchcombe bivouac began a few years back after discussions about the old Forest Service bivouacs and that only two original ones remained (McGregor and Mid King). Returning Winchcombe bivouac adds one more of this type of backcountry hut that is representative of huts used by the deer cullers. Design used in this project had to incorporate current building standards and considerable effort was made by the Backcountry Trust team in negotiating this issue with the local district council. Read more below
The original bivouac. Photo Paul Gush 1967
Winchcombe has had two bivouacs, the first built in 1966 was a standard S86 type for accommodation for hunting the upper Hector and Tauherenikau catchments. This was replaced by the NZFS with a “stand up” version in the early 1980s. In approximately 1987 DOC decided to relocate that building into the headwaters of the Western Hutt catchment for goat control.
The exNZFS volunteer group have management agreements for the upkeep of 14 huts in the Remutaka, Tararua and Aorangi forest parks. The groups focus is on retaining the original deer culling huts as far as possible in their original design to protect the heritage value of these iconic huts from the deer culling era. Over 400 of the orange painted huts opened up many remote areas of New Zealand’s backcountry, but many have been modified, replaced or removed.