The Department of Conservation (DOC) and paint company Dulux New Zealand chose Konini Lodge at Dawson Falls as the stunning location to announce the start of a $1.5 million partnership to paint and protect public lodges and huts over the next three years.
Representatives of DOC, Dulux, Nga Ruahine, Stratford District Council and South Taranaki District Council gathered at the Dawson Falls visitor centre for a powhiri before walking to Konini Lodge where Julia Myers, general manager of Dulux New Zealand, unveiled a plaque commemorating the partnership.
Local painter and decorator Allan McCullough was thanked for his work preparing the lodge in readiness for its paint makeover.
Students from Stratford Primary spoke to the adults gathered about their school's relationship with Konini Lodge, describing both the lodge and the mountain as taonga (treasures). They said students at the school had been staying at the lodge and tramping around the area for many years and described the landscape as being "like nowhere else".
They reminded listeners that staying on the mountain was not something people could do every day and it was due to huts such as Konini that they could experience the spectacular sights of the area.
All present were then encouraged to help finish painting the lodge, in a shade of Dulux aptly called Dawson Falls.
Julia says the colour palette for the huts was inspired by all the places Kiwis love and the public are encouraged to let DOC and Dulux know which huts need a makeover and what colours should be used.
Konini is the first of many DOC huts which will receive a fresh coat of paint as part of the partnership.
"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," DOC chief executive Al Morrison, says of the huts.