Hut moved by helicopter in Mt Richmond Forest Park in Marlborough video

NZDF

The New Zealand Defence Force and the Department of Conversation have teamed up to move the Mt Fell Hut in the Richmond Ranges, which was in proximity of a slip.

A tramping hut in danger of sliding off a mountain has been airlifted to safety.

The hut, in Marlborough's Mt Richmond Forest Park, was sitting on an active slip and could have slid into the bush.

It was flown by helicopter on Thursday from its position, about 1 kilometre from the summit of Mt Fell and 1220 metres above sea level, to a new location about 300m away.

Army and DOC staff prepare the hut to be lifted.
SUPPLIED/NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE FORCE

Army and DOC staff prepare the hut to be lifted.

The 52-year-old Department of Conservation hut had been closed since March last year.

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A New Zealand Defence Force NH90 helicopter was used to lift the 1700-kilogram hut.  

Army and DOC staff on Mt Fell waiting for the NH90 helicopter.
SUPPLIED/NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE FORCE

Army and DOC staff on Mt Fell waiting for the NH90 helicopter.

The hut would remain closed until Christmas for repair work to be carried out. 

DOC community ranger Clare Moore said the hut had been sitting on a slip that was slowly moving.

Lifting it by helicopter was really the only way to relocate it, she said. 

She did not think the hut needed major repairs. 

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"It'll just have a bit of a spruce up," she said. 

Helicopter captain flight lieutenant Chris Ross said the RNZAF helicopter also transported two loads of concrete and other construction materials that weighed a total of 1800kg to be used for the hut's new foundations.

"We are pleased to have been able to assist DOC and the local community by relocating the hut and flying DOC staff, volunteers and construction materials to the site," Ross said.

The Federated Mountain Club and the Marlborough, Nelson and Waimea Tramping Clubs secured $16,000 funding from the Outdoor Recreation Consortium to move the hut.

Volunteers would complete work on the foundations and gain Code Compliance Certification for the rest of the year, to ensure the hut was safe for accommodation once again. 

The six-bunk Mt Fell hut was built in 1964. 

Marlborough Tramping Club member Mary Jobberns said it would be great to see the hut back operating on a new site. 

The ridge above the hut, which was a popular stop for people climbing Mt Fell, offered scenic views of the Wairau Plains, Nelson Bay, Tasman Bay, the Pelorus Valley and Wellington.

The NH90 transporting the hut and preparing to lower it onto the new site. NZ DEFENCE FORCE

 - The Marlborough Express

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