This photo shows a group of students (aged 8-11) from Mind Plus Wakatipu school. The kids built the seat behind them as part of skill development. In total, I had 4 such groups helping (as well as many adults) and it was very rewarding to get kids away from computers and doing practical stuff.

New Turk progress
The new Turk is about 95% complete. There are a few minor things to finish but they all fit into the category of “I need to think about it” – meaning that it is difficult to ask for assistance.
Overall 65 people (19 were the kids mentioned above) helped build the Turk. Considering I couldn’t predict who would show up on the day and what skills were available, things went very well. Because nobody knew how to build a Turk it was a case of “do as I say and things will work”. It is exciting that this group of people now have an understanding of the build process meaning that next time things will be more efficient.

Crown Basin Turk
I have set up a simple calendar so people can see who/when the Turk is in use Please text or email me if you want to be booked in,

I have installed a small data logger that records temperature and humidity. It is providing an interesting analysis of the dynamics of the shelter. Even in winter the temperature in the hut gets above +15 most days but drops down below 0 at night because of the lack of thermal mass and insulation (later designs are insulated).

The learning experiences never stop. On a visit with the family in early June we arrived after dark with the temperature at minus 5oC. The door was covered with rime ice and in the rush to get inside and get the kids warm (6 and 8 years) I didn’t pay attention to some ice in the door hinges. As a consequence, I bent the door hinges a few millimetres which made the door difficult to close. The following weekend I fixed the door and installed a flexible rubber cover over the hinges to prevent the problem from happening again. This will be a standard feature for all Turks installed above the snow line.  For a Turk to be light and easily lifted by a helicopter there isn’t the option of a huge solid door like at other alpine huts (e.g. French Ridge) so cunning solutions must be found.

Out of town people
Quite a few out of town people have asked what they can do to help. There are some components that can be make remotely. Arron Eades in Christchurch used his lathe to make the aluminium lugs for the helicopter lift attachment points. This worked well since it was an easy job to describe and the end product was easily shipped.
Other components that could be made remotely include:

  • Door / door jamb (requires good joinery skills)
  • Window / window jamb (requires good joinery skills)
  • Mattresses and covers
  • Some of the internal plywood components

This works especially well from Christchurch since most of the materials are sourced from there and there are skilled contributors such as Richard Harcourt at Splitn2 with the CNC tools to cut the curved shapes.

Resource Consent
Holly Gardiner, Chris Ferguson and Jazz Morris have done an amazing job preparing and submitting the Resource Consent Application. At 85 pages it is a significant piece of work and their valued input cannot be underestimated. When I started this project I though the Resource consent would be a one-evening, 5-page affair, little did I realise my inexperience! If it wasn’t for the expertise of Boffa Miskell I would be bouncing around the boxing ring of bureaucracy for a very long time. The consent is not yet approved but the thoroughness of the application leaves me with confidence.

Building Consent
I have this mostly organised but have struck an unexpected frustration. If the Turks are classified as “Public” they need to be wheelchair accessible. For the Turk this is not too much of a problem but for the toilet it is a challenge. I would love wheelchair-bound people to visit but considering our agreement with the QEII covenant is for human-powered access only and that it takes a fit and able person 4-5 hours to reach the closest Turk it would be a superhuman who could do it in a wheelchair. I’m trying to work through how to get the Turks classified as “Backcountry” but the simple definition in the legislation only applies to DOC managed land. Stay tuned!

What’s next
My plan for the next month is:

  • Report on the costs for the recently built Turk
  • Get a revised draft club constitution out for people to look at
  • Organise a “debrief day” to think through how to improve the Turk build process
  • Organise the founding AGM

My thinking is to build the next 4 Turks in one go. Starting in late September once the days get a bit longer. Allocate a regular weekend afternoon when we can meet and start assembling the components with the current Turk as a reference. Stay tuned for some dates to kick that off.

Erik Bradshaw
15 August 2019

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