Shelter from the Storm. The story of New Zealand's backcountry huts.

Liam Butler

Liam Butler lives in Stoke, the cool part of Nelson. He has been reviewing books, movies and music for a bit of light relief since his student days.

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.


Sort by
  • actsclan says
    What an awesome gift for my dad, but a little too pricey for ne. Have to look around & see if there's a competition to win a copy.
    We used to go tramping & stayed in all of the huts all in the Tasman\Nelson region when I was a kid.

Post your comment

Want to have your say?

It's quick, easy and 100% free.


Latest discussions

Endorsed Events

  • SpringBreak FIJI SpringBreak FIJI

    Surrounded by nothing but tranquil water, SpringBreak Fiji brings together the best of everything

  • The Fijian Cup The Fijian Cup

    The Pacific Touch Rugby festival (Fijian Cup and Kava Cup) is underway on November 2, 2017 and with support from Touch Fiji and...

  • Rock Island VANUATU Rock Island VANUATU

    Rock Island is an all inclusive fully immersive travel experience which was brought into the music festival scene by The Rock and...

  • TourismHQ TourismHQ

    With seven years and growing under their belt; TourismHQ has established and continues to deliver on their extensive wealth of...