History of our Club - 1950 to ...

28 April 1950           71 people attended a meeting.  The club was formed and a committee elected.

14 May 1950            First trip to Wairere Falls, 56 people

June 1950                First Club Night

March 1951              First Bulletin

April 1951                Club becomes involved in SAR

September 1951      107 members

November 1951       Badge design selected from entries

January 1952           First SAR operation, the real thing

August 1952            Hut building committee formed, to build a hut somewhere in the Waikato

November 1953       First Wairongomai Hut working party

May 1954                Official Opening of Wairongomai Hut

June 1954               Waikato Hut building fund started

December 1954       First Waikato Hut working party

May 1955                First Junior member trip to Wairongomai

September 1955      Junior day trip to Maungatautari becomes day and a half

April 1956               Hut at Ruapheu named “Waikato Hut”

23rd June 1956       Official opening of Waikato Hut

September 1957     Pavlovich Bros become the Clubs transport operator

April 1959              Electricity installed in Waikato Hut

August 1963           Interest in building another hut – possibly at Waitawheta

February 1964       Health Dept declines permission to build at Waitaheta.

                             Inside toilet installed in Waikato Hut

July 1964              First Club marathon over Tuahu track and return

August 1964          Club entered a float in the Hamilton Centennial parade

October 1965        First crossing from Katikati to Waiorongomai

December 1965     Design a bush hut competition

March 1966           Plans to build a hut on top of Pirongia

November 1966     Hut design competition results in controversy and doubts about Pirongia.  Other possibilities investigated

April 1967             Permission received to build in Waitengaue Valley

June 1967             First Waitengaue Hut working party

December 1967     First Tramper of the Year award

June 1968             Official Opening of Waitengaue Hut

December 1968     Tramper of the Year cup appears

March 1969           First Pirongia open climb run by Club.  Postponed a week due to the weather but 209 people still took part

February 1971      Second Pirongia open climb – 300 people

May 1971             21st anniversary reunion of the club

June 1972            Plans to extend Waikato Hut

August 1972         Fundraising gets under way for the Hut Fund

January 1973       First working party for Waikato Hut extensions

March 1973          Third Pirongia open climb – 460 people

March 1975          Fourth Pirongia open climb – 500 people to the summit

August 1975         Official opening of Waikato Hut extension

March 1977          Fifth Pirongia open climb – 160 people – result of less advertising

1978                   Telephone installed at Waikato Hut

March 1979         Sixth Pirongia open climb – 156 people

February 1980    Fundraising again.  This time for fire alarm and emergency lighting system at Waikato Hut

May 1980            30th anniversary reunion

May 1980            Fire alarm and emergency lighting system installed in Waikato Hut

Sept 1980           Wairongomai Hut burnt down

Nov 1980            After discussions with NZ Forest Service, decision made not to replace Waiorongomai Hut

March 1981         Seventh Pirongia open climb – 100 people

March 1983         Eight Pirongia open climb – 201 people

April 1983           Tank room built around the back water tank at Waikato Hut

March 1983         First Club family trip to Whangamata

June 1983           A club member served on FMC executive

March 1985         Open bushcraft day instead of open climb

Nov 1985            Veranda added to Waitengaue Hut and walls lined with ply

March 1986         Solid fuel stove installed in lounge of Waikato Hut

July 1986            Volunteer members start driving buses for Club trips

Sept 1987           A chief guide appointed to help with trip planning

April 1989           21st anniversary of Waitengaue Hut celebrated.

                         A second informal Club Night started

May 1990           40th anniversary reunion

July 1990           Club obtains a Passenger Service Licence

April 1992          Rubbish hole filled in a Waitengaue – carry in, carry out policy adopted

1992-93             Aluminium joinery installed in Waikato Hut

May 1993           New roof on Waikato Hut

May 1993           Central fireplace removed from Waitengaue and the hut’s 25th anniversary celebrated

Winter 1994        Custodian at Waikato Hut for first time

Nov 1995           Club goes mountain biking – the 42 Traverse with weekend gear

June 1996          Another club member serves on FMC executive

May 2000           50th Anniversary reunion

April 2002          Waitengaue Hut burnt down

2010                 50th anniversary reunion

2010                 Personal Locator Beacons and fly to be taken on all trips

2010                 Clubs financial accounts went online

2012                 Bunk room upgrade at Waikato Hut completed

July 2012          Lounge at Waikato Hut names “King Family Lounge”

March 2013       Russell King has made two dining tables out of recycled native timber for Waikato Hut

Dec 2013         SGM to discuss a new structure for the club – General Committee manages the club with two separate sub committees

                      – Tramping and Ski.  Two new membership categories – Senior Ski and Junior Ski were created.

Jan 2014         New club structure begins


Waitengaue Hut 1968 - 2002

"In 1980 we lost Waiorongomai Hut to fire and many Club members at the time wondered how long it would be before Waitengaue Hut suffered the same fate. I guess an optimist would say that we got an extra 22 years pleasure from it. Small comfort for something that should not have happened.  On Easter Saturday 2002 at approximately 10.00 am, Waitengaue Hut was burnt down to the ground and all that remained was a pile of iron.

The present site in the Waitengaue Valley was discovered and in April 1967, permission was received to build. In June 1967 the first Waitengaue Hut working party was held. All materials were carried in to the site by members and the track from the road end to the site was divided up into thirteen sections. People were assigned to each section and were responsible for carrying materials over that section. A race soon developed as it was the aim of the people in each section to have a stockpile at the end of their section and this meant that much material was shifted quickly. During the construction, fundraising was also going on and funds managed to keep abreast of monies going out for materials.

Section 4 materials waiting for Section 5

The roof goes on

 Waitengaue 1 Section 4 Waitengaue 2 The Roof 

The workers

Nearly there, ready for opening

Waitengaue 3 The Workers Waitengaue 6 Tidying Up

Chimney in position

Waitengaue had a raised fireplace in the centre of the room

 Waitengaue 4 The Chimney  Waitengaue 5 Chimney Inside


One year after the first working party, the hut was opened and it was opened in style. Bow ties, a push bike and lots of sparkling brown. One member, who was later to become president, took three attempts to get out of his tent to go to the loo the next morning.


Waitengaue 7 Opening Ceremony Waitengaue 1989 21st party


The hut was used a lot by our Club and outside organisations and one feature of the hut was the raised fireplace that sat in the middle of the room. Architecturally it was a huge success, but from an engineering point of view, it was a heavy structure which eventually made the floor around it sink. An inspection underneath showed that it was sitting on one pile, so a working party was arranged and with hydraulic jacks and ground treated timber, the problem was rectified.

A veranda was added to Waitengaue Hut and the walls were lined with ply in 1985. This made a big difference to the hut, particularly during wet weather and for just sitting outside, contemplating the world. In 1992, the rubbish hole was filled in (a carry in-carry out policy was adopted) and in 1993, the central fireplace was removed (people were chopping down trees close to the hut and even chopping up the table, doors, seats or what ever, just to get firewood).

Unfortunately, Waitengaue Hut was always subject to vandalism, minor, more annoying vandalism in the earlier days, with more serious and costly vandalism as time went on. It was obvious that the hut was too close and too easy to get to for the undesirable element and they have had the last say.

Waitengaue Hut was not flash, but it was a well designed 34 year old bush hut in reasonable condition that provided warmth and shelter at a beautiful tramping site. I joined the Club in 1968 and spent a lot of time helping build the hut. I enjoyed using the hut and the company of the people staying there. We always had a great time, although the water at the hut was not the best - it often gave one a headache on Sunday morning! Our kids enjoyed the hut. I think they were three when they first went there and always enjoyed going as did the kids of other Club members. I am sad to think that the hut is no more and its loss will deprive many people of a lot of pleasure for both now and in the future.

Four committee members met with DoC after the fire and we all agreed that rebuilding the hut is not an option. DoC are having the same problems with their huts which are near to the road ends and the current thinking is that the present site could become a camping site with a shelter. No decision has been made about this as yet and Club members will be advised and possibly asked for input. What we need to do when the dust settles is to set a date for a weekend for members to visit the site and have a big party. We need to remember what Waitengaue Hut has meant to us, the enjoyment it has given us and the memories it has left with us and we need to farewell a memorial to the early members of the Club which has now been lost."


Waiorongomai Hut 1954 - 1980


Before the days of well-marked and cut tracks the WTC members took an interest in exploring the Waiorongomai Valley in the Kaimai Ranges where they uncovered the relics of past gold-mining activities buried beneath gorse. When they found a brick chimney standing alone deep in the forest in 1953 they decided that it was a great spot to build a hut.


Permission was obtained to take over this historic relic and on May 1,1954, after 6 months of hard toil by Club members, the Waiorongomai Hut was officially opened. The Waiorongomai Valley was looked upon at the time as the Club's stamping ground and the Hut became a home for early members who spent many days and weekends exploring the area.



Waiorongomai 1  Sept 1953 (429x640)
Waiorongomai 2  Jan 1954 - 4x3 (640x450) Waiorongomai 3 Jan 1954 (640x452) Waiorongomai 4 (640x385) Waiorongomai 5 (640x434)

In the 3Oth Reunion Bulletin it was noted that vandals were damaging the hut and that Club members could easily lose it. How unfortunate it was that this prediction came true only 5 months later.


On September 7, 1980, the Waiorongomai Hut was burned to the ground by vandals - only the original brick chimney survived the fire, the base of which can still be seen today. Forest Park regulations at the time dictated that the Club could not rebuild on the site, thus came the end of an era.


The Wilson Family, December 1979

Waiorongomai 6 Dec 79 Wilson family (640x420)



Trampers of the Year 

1967 Diane Purvis Tramper of the Year Cup 427x640
1968 Jean Wilson (nee Eccersall)
1969 Noel Burnie
1970 Cedric Hagyard
1971 Irene Dawson (nee Watt)
1972 Brian McInally
1973 Ian Smith
1974 Nigel Lancaster
1975 Debbie Discombe (nee Cowper)
1976 Ross Clarke
1977 Kathryn Goodchild
1978 Adrian Widgery
1979 Trish King (nee Stubbs)
1980 Annemarie Lamb (nee Gibbs)
1981 Graeme King
1982 Kelvin Baxter
1983 Jill Boswell (nee Davis)
1984 Eric Zwaan
1985 Russell Lamb
1986 John Wilson
1987 Rob Argent  
1988 David Boyd  
1989 Lynne Bjarnesen (Wood)  
1990 Beverley McGowan  
1991 Ian Fraser  
1992 Dianne June (nee Mannering)  
1993 Tim Foster  
1994 Kerry Hickey  
1995 Andrew Fredrickson  
1996 David Haydock  
1997 Jude Armstrong  
1998 Neil rowe  
1999 Stuart Elliston  
2000 Peter Ayson  
2001 Roland Stenger  
2002 Anna and Kevin Hearn  
2003 Paul McLennan  
2004 Peter Phipps  
2005 Tania Willis  
2006 Tracey Riley  
2007 Alan Wilson  
2008 Stuart Kneebone  
2009 John Davies  
2010 Dianne Ngapo  
2011 Lesley Kuggeleijn  
2012 David Payne  
2013 John McArthur  
2014 Chris Kay  
2015 Margaret Robbins  
2016 Stephen Prendergast  
2017 Allan Wickens  
2018 Jacqui Dick  
2019 Selwyn June  
2020 Judith Bogle  
2021 Les Warren  
2022 Mike Peck  
2023 Jim Scott