Historic hut being rebuilt

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An old Waitaki Valley hut with history that links it to the construction of the Waitaki Dam is being given a new lease of life by a group of volunteers.
The wooden hut, which stands on the property of Graham Hill near Kurow, is being restored by members of the Kurow Museum Committee.
Mr Hill, a member of the committee, said the hut was built more than 80 years ago.
“It originally, we believe, is from the Waitaki Dam days, which is somewhere in the vicinity of 1928 to 1935. From there, we believe it went out probably to a farm, where it could have been used as a single worker’s hut or a storage shed, as we believe many of them did.
“We’re not sure where it lived for a majority of its life.”
About 10 years ago, the Kurow Museum took ownership of the hut and it was moved next to the museum, where it sat until it was moved to Mr Hill’s property.
Mr Hill said most of the hut’s original materials had been or would be replaced.
“The bottom section of the two side walls had to be replaced and one end wall was completely rotten and had to be replaced, and a window frame made.
“Between a third and half of the weatherboards, originally rimu, have been replaced with New Zealand Oregon.”
He said the entire floor and sub-floor had been replaced, and the exterior and interior painted.
Tens of hours have been spent on the hut’s restoration. It was funded by Netcom, which contributed $1300, and Resene.
Mr Hill said the hut was basic, and would have contained few essentials let alone any luxuries.
“It would have been fairly cool to live in in the winter up there … there’s no evidence of any heating.
“We have an original stretcher which we believe would have been the type that would have been used and there would have been a little table but that’s basically all there would have been in there,” he said.
The restoration is scheduled to be finished in a week or two, after which the hut will be moved back alongside the museum.