winter of 1950 the framing was in place and work continued over
winter, as it was a very poor snow year. Due to delays in obtaining
timber, the last of the roof trusses were not on site until December.
The true extent of labour, material and expense for the project, which
"to call it a hut gives the wrong idea of size, for it has the floor
space of a small house" (March 1951 bulletin) was beginning to be
Members rallied, completing outside walls, glazing and spouting and by
winter the building was weather proof.
By December 1951 it was ready for occupation though with much finishing
work to be done. 16 December was the "big tank day" when nine members
moved a 600 gallon cylindrical tank up from Dawson Falls, taking five
hours. This was buried behind the building in April and connected to a
hot water cylinder. Concrete slabs were cast for the terrace. Equipment
such as tables, seats, mattresses, cutlery and utensils eventually
appeared as funds allowed.
The first official outside party to use the hut was from the Tararua
Tramping Club in August 16-17th 1952.
pack and coat storage room
name "Kapuni Lodge" is first mentioned in the September 1952
bulletin, "lodge" being more fitting than "hut" because of its size and
high standard of furnishing, including floor lino fitted by Clive
Collett and Nui Robbins.
The lodge was opened on Sunday November 9th 1952, following a
pre-opening function at Robson Lodge the night before.
Sunday dawned fine and 120 people assembled in front of the lodge with
the Union Jack flying at the masthead.
Speakers were N. M Thomson of Levin,
representative of the NZ Ski
Council and past president of FMC; E. L. Abbot, Chairman of the South
Committee; L. V Bryant and Rod Syme, foundation members of the club.
The lodge was declared open by club president T. E. Drake, who paid
tribute to Rod Syme.
from common room window
coal / wood burner
of the key players in the 5-year building project were George
Maddaford, Owen Woods, Morrie Woods, Ivan Pivac, Tom Hotter, Rod
Nicholas, Sam Moore, Nelson Ogden, Noel Healy, Barry Jones, Ben Carr
and Charlie Haughey.
Only a few months later, the porch was enlarged to accommodate showers
and a drying room. Next came the storage shed in 1954 as space to store
fuel and skis was needed.
Electric lighting was provided
by a motor-driven generator until 1976
when a wind generator was installed on the roof, to reduce the fire
risk from fuel and the ongoing repairs to the motor.
This only lasted a couple of years. A phone line to Dawson Falls was
installed in 1954 and maintained until eventually removed in 1984.
In 1983 the hot water cylinder was removed and the porch area lined and
wooden slats installed on the floor. Also at this time, gas cooking and
lighting systems were installed and bunks were converted to
Maintenance over the years has seen paintwork redone several times and
replacement of fittings such as a new pot belly stove in 1985, a water
tank installed beside the store shed in 1986, an "H" chimney stack
installed in 1989, Batts insulation in the ceiling in 1992 and
replacement of the kitchen wall with a servery in 1993.
In 1996 a major refurbishment of the whole lodge was begun, the
intention being to modernize and upgrade the lodge to the highest
standard of alpine huts in New Zealand.
A catalyst for this ambitious project was a bequest of $5000 from the
estate of Joyce Galbraith, an active club member and keen skier in the
With a helicopter lifting of materials,
this would be a different process altogether from the original building
The Lodge Committee at this time comprised
Alan Schicker, Craig
Tippett, Mike Joyce, Kevin Lockley and John Eades, with David McNair
doing the architectural and design work.
It began with a new plastic water tank and a new Zincalum roof,
installed in January 1996 and five helicopter loads of materials flown
Disaster struck two months later when the entire roof structure was
found upside down on the bank behind the lodge, wind having got under
the not-yet-fixed bottom edge. This was replaced by yet another new
roof, including purlins, in a hard-working few days.
The interior refurbishment began with relining the kitchen and common
room areas, now "open plan", with tongue and groove Macrocarpa,
installation of a new wood and coal burning stove and floor tiles and
The skilled tradesmen on the lodge committee did the finishing work on
this part of the project, including the tile laying done by Mike Joyce.
1999 the club moved into the next phase, recladding the exterior of
the building, replacement of windows with aluminium joinery, and
installing a solar powered lighting system. An appeal for funds was
launched and grants were applied for. $10,000 had been spent since 1996
and another $17000 was estimated.
Wietze Hoogeveen, Dave McNair, Wayne Holtham, Paul Hodgkinson, Paul
O'Dowd, Kevin Lockley and Phil Cram were the enlarged Lodge committee
In November 1999, 12 loads
were helicoptered up to the lodge, after
many cancellations in fickle weather. The solar system was installed,
the gas cylinder relocated, an island bench installed and recladding
started. This continued with working bees over the next two summers.
The final stage of the refurbishment of the lodge itself was the
bunkrooms and porch interior.
It was decided to employ professional builders for a week to finish
this quickly while maintaining the high standard of finishing. This,
along with a new fiberglass toilet, would cost another $16,500.
Once again, typical November weather delayed the 10 flights of
materials for days on end, but eventually builder Brad Gibbons and crew
got there and completed the job, club members cleaning up afterwards,
revealing a magnificent-looking lodge.
During the 1996 to 2002 refurbishment, some of the other hard workers
that deserve a mention include John and Helen Cooper, Barry Meads and
Peter and Jenny Amies (formerly of Placemakers Hawera).
Wietze Hoogeveen was elected a life member of the club in September
During 2002 the shed was reclad as well and the toilet installed, with
a final tidy up around the site in time for the 50th anniversary of the
lodge opening on November 9th 2002.
A stainless steel ball valve outlet tap has recently been fitted to
replace the damaged gate valve. To turn ON the water supply to the
lodge, only requires a 90 degree (or quarter turn)
of the extension handle to the LEFT(anti-clockwise).
To close OFF the supply, turn the handle 90 degrees (or
quarter turn) to the RIGHT( clockwise)
again. (See diagram at left)
Lodge Water Supply - a
note for users
water tank is located above the south end of the Lodge up on the bank.
The tap is inside a steel tube with a lid. In winter, it may be covered
by snow. Look for the steel T topped pipe that serves as a marker on
the tank. Firstly, turn on the main water supply. Next close the drain tap under the kitchen window and then close the kitchen taps.
Remember, the water is collected off the roof so it is advisable to boil all drinking water.
When you leave, turn off the main supply first. Open the drain tap and the kitchen taps and leave them open. This drains the water system to prevent the water freezing in the pipes.
Information sourced from "Mt Egmont Alpine
Dawson Falls 50 years history 1928-78", "Index to Mt Egmont Alpine Club
Bulletins 1940-97" and EAC bulletins 1997-2002.