Warning to Kiwi trampers: Prove you're using high country huts, or risk losing them for good

Blase attitudes to high country hut visitors books could see hunters and trampers lose the facilities altogether.

DOC runs nearly 1,000 back country hunts around New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

There are nearly 1000 such huts dotted around the country, but if those who use them don't prove they're using them, their maintenance will stop, and they'll eventually be closed.

This warning has come at the opening of brand new hut inland from Haast in South Westland.

Over the last month a dilapidated lean-to has been replaced with DOC’s newest quarters, all thanks to the late Bazza Smith, an avid hunter and lover of New Zealand's back country.

"When Barry died, in his will, he had bequeathed that the majority of his estate actually be transferred to DOC to actually build a hut in the Landsborough area because that was his favourite area of tramping," says Diane Dailey, Barry Smith's partner.

DOC's Wayne Costello took the opening as a chance to get an urgent message out to trampers and hunters who are getting a little lazy with their signing in.

"If it's not showing that a place is being used, then our decisions are probably that we won't maintain things."