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Mount Egmont Alpine Club

Kapuni Lodge
Kapuni Lodge

Kapuni Lodge is a private (locked) hut built and owned by Mt Egmont Alpine Club.
Situated at approximately 1400m on the slopes of Fanthams Peak, approximately 1 hour walking up the Summit Track from Dawson Falls. Opened in 1952, extensively renovated 1996-2002.
Sleeps 16 in main bunkroom (platform bunks), 3 in small bunkroom.
  • LPG Gas cooking facilities
  • Wood/Coal Fire
  • Solar Lighting
  • Crockery/Utensils supplied

Fees: Members: $10 per person ($5 Children 12yrs and under.)

Non-Members: $25 per person ($15 Children 12yrs and under.)

Key obtainable through the
Booking Officer

Marilyn Finer
Fraser Rd

Ph 06 272  8138
      027 668 8999

KL4.1 KL3
Kapuni Lodge from 13 km
Kapuni Lodge from Dawson Falls (2.5 km).Accessible from Summit Track
Kapuni Lodge from Stratford Plateau. Note not directly accessible from here.

The History of Kapuni Lodge

The story began in June 1947. With the return of some EAC committee members from active service overseas, the proposal of a new hut led to the forming of a subcommittee to select a suitable site in or near the Kaupokonui Snow Bowl. To quote the March 1948 bulletin "The site selected is just above the scrub line, on a sheltered sunny tussock-clad shelf, with excellent views of Fanthams Peak, the summit of Mt Egmont above, the Kapuni River and the Dawson Falls Hostel below. A hut in this area would be pleasantly situated for summer trips as well as a base for winter skiing parties"

Signpost at the turn off from the Summit Track.
Summit view from Lodge
View of Sth Taranaki ring plain

After Egmont National Park Board approval of the site was granted, the first organized working bee was held on 15 February 1948. A party of 12 carried up two large water drums and a shelter store for tools and cement. The building was estimated to cost 400 to 500 pounds.
By June 1948 after a number of well-attended working bees, the site was excavated to the required size. It had been decided to build a hut to accommodate 24 people as well as day visitors and the plan was to construct half the building during the coming summer and the second half later.
The winter of 1949 saw the concrete foundations complete. A second appeal for funds was launched as it was realized that costs were going to be far greater than first thought.
On March 5 1950 an official function was held at the hut site.
Mr A. V. Tait, chairman of the Egmont National Park Board South Committee and in his 82nd year, drove the first nail. Assisting him was Mr R. A. Grace and also Mr Graeme Laurenson who had been the architect and adviser.
All the stops were pulled out and the whole scheme was to be completed as one unit. Working bees were held most weekends and timber and iron were moved up to dumps at Hooker Hut.
Note photovoltaic panels for lighting
Sun deck

By 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 realized.
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.


Boot, pack and coat storage room
Kitchen facilities.

The 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.


View from common room window
Dual coal / wood burner

Some 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.

Common room
Sun deck
Club Logo       

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 platform-style.
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 1930's.
With a helicopter lifting of materials, this would be a different process altogether from the original building project.
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 up.

Kitchen Large bunk room
Common room

Old Kapuni LodgeDisaster 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 vinyl.
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.

In 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 by then. 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 2002.

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.

Lodge Water Supply - a note for users

Water Tap 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)

The 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 Club and Dawson Falls 50 years history 1928-78", "Index to Mt Egmont Alpine Club Bulletins 1940-97" and EAC bulletins 1997-2002.