Cattle Ridge hut was built in 1961 by the NZ Forest Service during the hut building program to support the deer culling operations in the forest park. The hut is one of 14 6 bunk S70 type Forest Service huts that were built along with 6 2 person “dog box” type bivouacs.
The Wellington Branch of the NZ Deerstalkers Association have a management agreement with DOC for the upkeep of the hut.
The hut was extensively restored by members of the Wellington NZDA. The rebuild was funded through DOC, the Tararua Aorangi Remutaka Huts Committee and the NZDA Wellington branch as a partnership. The NZDA Wellington branch raised $70,000 for the hut’s restoration
A party of 18 attended the reopening, including members of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, builders, past Department of Conservation staff, Amalgamated Helicopters pilots, and family of the late Tony Macklin [an advocate for the hut]. The original hut was built in 1960-1961, and by 2012 the Department of Conservation had made an “arbitrary decision” to dismantle and do away with it. However, resistance met the decision from members of the outdoors community including Macklin. In his speech at the reopening on Saturday, NZDA Wellington branch committee member Ed Trotter acknowledged the work Macklin had put in to save the hut. “The need was met through Tony Macklin’s vision and energy to reinstate an essential asset near the top of Cattle Ridge to benefit the many users who could potentially be exposed to the elements and face life-threatening injuries. “Without Tony’s passion and mahi, we wouldn’t be here today recognising and honouring his service to the cause, this hut, and all the benefactors past, present and future.” Speaking to the Times-Age on Monday, Trotter said one of the biggest things on the day was the closure for the Macklin family. “Tony had started the project, he’d done the draughtsmanship for it – using the skeleton and putting a few extra things around it and double glazed windows and the like and then he died suddenly in September 2016.” A plaque dedicated to Tony Macklin was unveiled by his son Joe on Saturday.
Tony Macklin also received a Conservation Award on behalf of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association for work on the Roaring Stag Lodge a recreational hut in the eastern Tararua Ranges that is keenly enjoyed by hunters and trampers;
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Completed Cattle Ridge hut at the hut reopening.
Cattle Ridge hut before renovations
The hut exterior roof was replaced and a front entrance added
Cattle Ridge is a windy place. The chimney on the newly built hut disappeared during a westerly gale and was found some distance away from the hut. Consequently there was no fire for heating or cooking until some years later when a wood burner was installed. Photo ted Smith