Thursday, November 01, 2012

Shelter from the Storm: the story of New Zealand’s backcountry huts

Nearly 200 years of unique architectural history is captured in a stunningly beautiful, highly-illustrated  new book released by Craig Potton Publishing this month. And what a wonderful piece of non-fiction publishing. Simply superb

Shelter from the Storm: the story of New Zealand’s backcountry huts by Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint looks at the network of over 1,000 working and recreational huts that are located deep in New Zealand’s wilderness, and profiles 90 of the most emblematic.

The project took the three author/photographers three years to complete, tramping in to photograph and gather stories about why huts were built, by whom, and how they’ve been used since.
‘Nowhere else in the world has a network of huts like ours, they’re a defining feature found only in New Zealand’s wilderness, and the stories behind how and why they were built are wonderful,’ says Shaun Barnett.
‘The oldest date back to the 1800s, and originally housed gold miners or shepherds acting as boundary keepers. Many of those are built of stone but corrugated iron sheds can last a long time too, especially on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps.’
‘The most remote would take 3 or 4 days tramping to reach, and when you arrive at these places, in all sorts of weather, and realise that in many cases they were built by people carrying the materials in on their backs, it lends a real sense of thankfulness to the whole experience,’ says Shaun.

For those who venture into our wild places there is often a passionate attachment to the huts. Each profiled hut is illustrated with an overview of who built it and why: from private individuals, to tramping and mountaineering clubs, and various Government organisations including the Department of Internal Affairs, Lands and Survey, New Zealand Forest Service, Park Boards and the Department of Conservation.
Shelter from the Storm is a landmark publication, the first wide-ranging history of our backcountry hut network.
Photos below show just a handful of the many huts featured. The bottom image is the back cover of the book. The book was edited by Susi Bailey and designed by Robbie Burton. Well done guys.

No comments: