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Aspiring Hut – History

Aspiring Hut


Warden’s Quarters



The hut is managed on behalf of NZAC by the Department of Conservation, under what is known as The Aspiring Agreement. Meetings are held of a joint steering committee twice a year to decide on work plan priorities.

1948 film from NZ On Screen: Prelude to Aspiring was directed and filmed by documentary photographer Brian Brake. It follows a group of climbers up the Matukituki Valley, west of Wanaka, towards Mt Aspiring for the opening of a new hut and a trudge through snow to resurrect a flattened shelter high up Mt French. The autumn alpine scenery is breathtaking even in black and white, and the film perfectly performs its role as one of a series of promotional ‘documentaries’ made by the National Film Unit.

The following, also courtesy of NZ on Screen, is a 1972 NFU documentary that follows three climbers (Hugh Canard, Neil Hamilton and pioneering guide Bruce Jenkinson) on an ascent of Mt Aspiring. Directed and photographed by Grant Foster (Land of Birds), the beautifully-shot short film heads up country in the Land Rover. Rivers are crossed in the sun, then the climbers rope up and get the pick axes out. It’s tea, food and harmonica in the hut, then a pre-dawn start (“hell it’s cold!”) before cutting steps and leaping crevasses up the “matterhorn of the south”. The film screened on PBS in the United States. Aspiring


History Timeline

Save Aspiring Hut Project

– New wardens quarters completed.

– Camping shelter built.

– 50th Anniversary of Aspiring Hut

– First agreement signed between DoC and NZAC.

– Hut construction completed. The official opening was held at Easter and the National Film Unit were present to film the occasion. (see link above)

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