By Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint
Book review by Liam Butler
Shelter from the Storm has been three years in the making. The efforts of the authors have rewarded with the book was being a finalist in the General Non-fiction category of the NZ Post Book Awards.
This landmark publication covers 90 huts, 200 years of history and the hunters and hikers that have used them. This book is the heavy weight champion of New Zealand’s huts with its imposing 250 x 310 mm size and 2.72 kg weight.
Cone Hutt in the Upper Tauherenikau Valley, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa.
There are about one thousand huts throughout the New Zealand outback this book explains why they were built in the first place and how hard it was to construct them.
Lugging timber on ones back has never been a leisurely pursuit but in 1945 CMC members did just that. Tramping 10 kilometre laps up the White Valley with an altitude climb of 650 meters these hardy volunteers built the Barker Memorial Hut (above) in order to keep people safe and sometimes warm.
Diverse designs and materials including canvas, timber and iron clad our back country huts. Designs born of necessity are showcased alongside more durable, ecologically friendly huts. A hut in the woods would not be of interest to anyone if it was not for the fact that they have provided a chance for sleep, shelter and socialisation.
Co author Geoff Spearpoint at Museum Hut. Photograph by co author Shaun Barnett.
The photos and the prose in this book are an apt tribute to our back country huts and the people whose selfless efforts built them. It would have been good to learn how the authors think that the huts can be developed to meet the growing demand for people who are heading for our hills.
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