Ruapehu Hut Working Bee – 23-25 March 2007
By Richard Knott
A big thank you to all those who gave up the time to help out:
Ron, Dave, Rosemary, Nick, Kate, Tony, Max & Brad.
The bulk of the building materials arrived by chopper earlier in the week and on Friday a shuttle relay of 6 trips from the chairlift to Delta Corner, and then from Delta Corner up to the hut ensured that all remaining materials were up at the hut by late afternoon on Friday. Or so we thought. It wasn’t long before someone pointed out that we’d left the box of beers and one bag of tools down at the end of the Centennial Chairlift. Still, it wasn’t going to be the Chairlift operator’s lucky night as we hot-footed it back down to the chairlift to retrieve our essentials, returned to the hut, and still managed to take off the entrance door and start ripping up the old floor before sundown.
We all turned in relatively early as we knew it would be an early start on Saturday, but the night turned out to be quite eventful. Does anyone know of any rumours of the hut having a ghost? We have 4 witnesses of ghostly happenings this night, and no, we weren’t plastered (we were on rations!). Sometime after 1.30am, I was aware of someone climbing the bunks near me, but knew there was no one sleeping on my tier. The next morning all the other stories came out. Brad woke up and went looking in the entrance loft saying “Where are the others?”. During the night, he’d seen a person (wearing a mysterious orange beany!) in the doorway. Meanwhile, Ron woke up to hear the bang-bang of heavy feet on the entrance grill, as if someone was banging their boots off. Rosemary was same as me – heard movement going on, and felt the movements of the bunks.
Spooky goings on didn’t deter us from the task in hand though, and we put in a full day of DIY on Saturday. We pulled up the old floor, got most of the under floor insulation done, repaired and sealed all major holes in the cladding and remade the front door and coated it with a coat of etch-primer. Rosemary and Kate cleaned up the paintwork and scraped off all the flaking paint on the eastern walls. Finally, Max managed to mortar the holes in the foundation blocks. We pushed on to 8:30 and were ready for a beer at the end of the day!
Rosemary put on a fantastic evening spread despite having left one of the food bags at home – it was great having her there cooking as it meant the rest of us could keep working. (Nothing like those traditional roles! Ed.)
Thankfully Saturday night passed without other-worldy incident and Sunday dawned another great weather day and proved very productive. We had an early start and checquerplated the entrance area floor, re-hung a warped door, and put on a new door handle all before the last chair lift left at 4pm with us and all our rubbish on board.
There’s still a long way to go but we made good headway this weekend with a great and motivated team. Everyone gelled and we got a huge amount done.
Thank you, everyone who gave up their weekend.