Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

DoC announces partnership with Dulux

Director-General of Conservation Al Morrison. Photo / Alan Gibson
Director-General of Conservation Al Morrison. Photo / Alan Gibson

Hundreds of backcountry huts and recreational lodges will get a new lick of paint under a $1.5 million deal to maintain shelters on walkways throughout the country.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) today announced a three-year partnership with Dulux which would see the company supply 18,000 litres of paint and wood coating products a year.

The company would also provide practical and financial help towards the upkeep of the hut network.

The partnership will help maintain 973 recreational huts and lodges on more than 14,000km of tracks - many in remote areas, and all of them exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Director-General of Conservation Al Morrison welcomed the partnership, saying the maintenance of heritage huts was a huge commitment for DoC.

"They are special places that international visitors and New Zealanders like to come to and we want the huts to look good when people arrive."

Conservation Minister Nick Smith said the partnership enabled DoC to do more in tight financial times and accelerate its maintenance programme.

"It's also another great example of the benefits of forming conservation partnerships with passionate businesses, and follows hard on the heels of the first rare bird releases on the weekend stemming from DoC's alliance with Air New Zealand."

Dr Smith said he would be challenging more businesses help look after the places and wildlife that made New Zealand special.

DOC shelters are used by some 300,000 people a year, two thirds of them New Zealanders.

The Tarn Ridge Hut in the Tararua Forest Park was the first to get a fresh coat of paint.

It will be followed by the Tasman Saddle Hut at Aoraki Mt Cook, the Franz Josef Castle Rocks Hut, the Robson Lodge in Hawkes Bay, the Kiwi Burn Hut at Te Anau, and the Top Misery Hut at Raglan Range in Marlborough.

- APNZ

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