2nd Engineer Regiment build a new DOC Hut at Maropea Forks in the Ruahine Ranges. From left, SPR Tom Williams, SPR Sam Clark, SPR Clem Duval, SPR Chris Foster and SPR Daryl Metcalfe who are working on the hut.
7 May 2014
Battling nasty weather and hard conditions is all in a day’s work for soldiers from the New Zealand Army’s Engineers, as they build a new tramping hut for the Department of Conservation.
The hut at Maropea Forks in the Western Ruahine Forest Park is popular with trampers, hunters and fishers and is also the habitat of the native whio (blue duck). It is being replaced as it is suffering from disrepair and, due to changes in the Maropea River channel, is positioned precariously close to the water’s edge.
The team of engineers from 2nd Engineer Regiment, Linton Military Camp, includes a plumber, builders and an apprentice, who doubles as a medic. They have been transported to the remote site by helicopter, spending 10 days at a time working on the project for the past two months.
The project is nearing completion and the team will be flown out for the last time on Friday, weather permitting.
The group were hindered by Cyclone Luci and recent weather bombs, which meant extra effort has been needed to stay on task.
Pulling out all stops the team has stayed on schedule. However safety is paramount, especially in such isolation, so when the weather closes in the tools go down.
“We have caught up a lot of time by working longer hours when the weather lets us, making sure we stay within safety parameters,” said Corporal Paul Cassidy.
Supplies for the build are being provided by DOC.
The team says it has been a great experience working with agencies outside of the military.
“It is always interesting to see how other agencies conduct tasks such as this. It provides us with a lot of experience and knowledge when dealing with any other non military organisation,” said CPL Cassidy.
DOC’s Partnership Manager, Chris Lester, said the two organisations had worked well together on the project.
“We’ve been impressed by the work and morale of the guys on the ground. Army are an excellent partner for DOC and are delivering a great hut that New Zealander’s will be able to enjoy for many years to come,” he said.
For more information please contact Emma Horsley Communications Advisor - Central for the New Zealand Defence Force on 021 409 033.