DOC huts and lodges get slick makeover

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013
huts stand
ROBERT CHARLES
DOC director-general Al Morrison and Dulux general manager Julia Myers launch a $1.5 million partnership with a paint job for Konini Lodge.

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Mt Taranaki's Konini Lodge has been one of the first huts to receive a much-needed lick of paint as part of a nationwide upgrade programme.

Launched yesterday, the $1.5 million partnership between the Department of Conservation and Dulux will enable all 973 DOC huts and lodges in the country to get a paint makeover.

Bosses from DOC and Dulux, local school children and iwi gathered at the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre yesterday for the launch.

Dulux will provide DOC with more than 18,000 litres of paint and wood coating products each year for three years.

The Konini Lodge had been partially repainted and guests were invited to pick up a paintbrush to finish the job.

Stratford Primary School students Nancy Kirk, 9, and Georgia Rowland, 10, stay at Konini Lodge on school trips and enjoy visiting the area.

"I love how we went up to Wilkies Pool and we jumped in the water and it was so cold," Nancy said.

They were pleased with the lodge's new look.

"It looks a lot better than what it used to, it looks like a new hut," Georgia said.

DOC's new area manager for Taranaki, Mike Tubbs, said the partnership was fantastic.

"I feel a bit bad because I've only been here three days and everyone else has done all the work."

He said they would now work out how and where they would use the product on huts across Taranaki.

Julia Myers, Dulux New Zealand general manager, was enjoying her first visit to Egmont National Park.

"The surroundings are beautiful, I'm pretty stunned every time I come and see these places."

The colour palette for the huts was inspired by all the places Kiwis love and cherish, she said.

Al Morrison, the director-general of DOC, said it was good to have the public and private sectors working towards a common goal.

"Conservation is something for everybody, not something you just package up and stick in a government department."

He said DOC could not afford to carry out maintenance on the huts and lodges. "It's about partnering up with others to get the job done."

DOC's 973 recreation huts and lodges, which support more than 14,000 kilometres of track, are well used by New Zealanders. It estimates two thirds of the 300,000 bed stays per year at the huts and lodges are by New Zealanders.

The disappointment of the day was the no-show of Minister for the Environment Nick Smith, who cancelled his trip to stay at Parliament.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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