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  • Nelson Mail 15th July 2013

Mackay Downs has distant views of the Tasman Sea and Heaphy River mouth, 15 km to the west and 750 m below. James Mackay Trampers Hut is situated in low forest and is one of seven Great Walk huts on the 78.4km Heaphy Track. Frank Byrne, Builders was commissioned to build the replacement hut in 2014. Our previous experience with building the Perry Saddle Trampers and Staff Huts - also at alpine level, and Heaphy Hut in 2011, ensured that our Team was able to cope with the extremes that the Mackay Downs could throw at us!

On the 7th April 2014, Frank Byrne Builders took site possession to commence construction of the new trampers hut, along with several DoC staff next over the 4 days. It was all ‘hands on deck’ to get the pile holes dug and piles in and despite the inclement weather! At the end of 10 days the flooring was on and the boys were ready to come home and dry out! The Team enjoyed an evening with the Minister of Conservation Nick Smith and his tramping party in late October, with an unofficial ‘opening’ over a shared meal. The James Mackay Trampers Hut was completed and opened to the public at the beginning of November, with a party of 3 trampers absolutely delighted to be welcomed into the new hut within minutes of the ‘red tape’ being finalised.

Post Note: Through our involvement over the period of 4 years on various DOC projects, we came to know and respect DOC Project Manager - Kim Forbes, who passed away suddenly on 1st March 2015. A great team man who will be sadly missed.