■ REVIEW: Shelter from the Storm
Gimme shelter …

New Zealanders are rather fond of their huts and this books shows why.

Our backcountry huts are so very much a part of the Kiwi outdoors life, with a diverse network of huts spread throughout the country offering varying levels of comfort in some incredibly spectacular settings.

These humble structures may not feature the latest in interior design or architectural features but they do offer an anchor for those who venture into our wild outdoors.

This book looks at the huts we have and how they got there, with the first first wide-ranging history of our hut network and an overview of who built the huts – tramping and mountaineering clubs, the Department of Internal Affairs, Lands and Survey, New Zealand Forest Service, Park Boards and DOC – as well as why they were built, which includes farming, mining, tourism, tramping and climbing, hunting and deer culling, science and as monuments.

My own experience of huts doesn’t really extend beyond our little huts attached to our whitebait stands so I’m no expert on what is on offer in the way of backcountry huts. However, this books gives a pretty good idea, with a wide range of huts and their fascinating stories covered.

This will appeal to anyone with an interest in our country’s scenery but also those interested in our history.

The authors have done a great job in producing this wonderful book.

Shelter from the Storm: The Story of NZ’s Backcountry Huts, by Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint ( Craig Potton Publishing, RRP $80)

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