Whanganui wahine demolition team

Department of Conservation —  13/07/2015

By Les Judd

A window of two stunning winter days cleared the Whanganui Office recently as staff headed bush for some serious mahi.

Les Judd in helicopter.

Heading out in the helicopter

The mahi included assisting engineers to assess structures along the popular Mountains to Sea cycle trail, clearing rubbish from hunting campsites, goat control, helipad maintenance, and giving the huts a winter spring clean.

View of Mount Ruapehu from the helicopter.

View of Mount Ruapehu from the helicopter

Among the office evacuees were four keen wahine – Jazz Hessell, Adele Meyer, Rachael Abbott and Les Judd – fortunate to be tasked with the best job of all… demolition!

DOC staff in front of huts.

From left to right: Les, Adele, Jazz and Rachael

Armed with hand tools, fire lighters and safety gear, the wahine were dropped into a remote part of the Whanganui National Park to demolish two illegal huts, relics of Forest Service times.

Helicopter drop-off.

Helicopter drop-off

Leaky, falling down, and full of rubbish, the huts were unsafe, unsightly and needed to be demolished.

After a toolbox meeting, each wahine grabbed her tool of choice and got stuck in to the demolition – a good way to keep warm as the winter sun slunk quickly away from the clearing.

Demolition time!

Demolition time!

With the two huts reduced to soggy firewood, it was time for a well earned dinner and yarn around the fire.

Getting the fire roaring.

Getting the fire roaring

Thanks to the ongoing predator control in the Whanganui National Park, through the Kia Wharite Biodiversity Project, we were serenaded by an orchestra of kiwi calls right through the evening.

Combined with a breath-taking night sky it would have been easy to stay up all night; however the dying embers of the fire and the frost settling in the clearing had the wahine heading for the warmth of their sleeping bags.

The demo team enjoying a cuppa by the fire.

The demo team enjoying a cuppa by the fire

Awakening to ice on sleeping bags and hats inside our tents left us in no doubt it would be a stunning day.

With warm drinks and porridge in our bellies we kept ourselves busy by removing the last traces of the huts, burying the ash and collecting the last of the rubbish to fly out.

The four women standing on the site of the old huts.

Job done!

As the helicopter lifted off we were treated to stunning views of snow-capped Mt Taranaki to the west and the trio of maunga of the Tongariro National Park to our east; a perfect reward for a job well done.

Stunning views of snow-capped Mt Taranaki.

Stunning views of snow-capped Mt Taranaki

2 responses to Whanganui wahine demolition team

    Ligs Hoffman 13/07/2015 at 9:30 am

    Wow awesome work wahine! Looks pretty chilly but beautiful pictures and must have been satisfying getting stuck in with all those tools.


    Very satisfying with tools in hand – and check out that night sky.