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Pioneer Hut – History

Pioneer Hut


The hut is managed on behalf of NZAC by the Department of Conservation, under what is known as The Westland Agreement.


History Timeline

2008 – Work planned for improvement of toilet system.
2007 – Damage to small end window.
2004 – Removal of old materials from higher old hut site.
1999 – New hut completed.
1988 – Pioneer Hut handed over to DoC after extended negoiations, with Club members receving a third discount for 10 years from 1 Dec 1987.
1955 – Substanial rock ledge built right around the hut
1953 – Christmas 1953 – hut completed
1952 – Construction begun, but not completed due to an approaching storm.
1950 – Proposal to build a replacement Pioneer Hut slightly below the site of the current Bivvy that is now in danger from falling rocks and had recently been hit by a large boulder.
1933/34 – Original Pioneer Bivvy erected by Franck Alack and Bert Cowan and named “Mr Sullivan’s Bivouac Hut” (after the Sullivan brothers who funded the build). At the time, at 8000ft, it was the highest building in New Zealand. It appears to have been made of corrugated iron, 8 x 9ft with blankets, mattresses and containing a food supply.
Reminiscences of WK Allan Berry from circa 1946: “We used to say of the hut that it would sleep 3 comfortably and 4 intimately. You had to crawl in to gain entry. It was common practise then to throw your used cans out the door, so that as you were climbing along the ridge your ice axe would hit the cans under the snow. Then you knew it was straight up from there to reach the hut.”

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