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Our Selection

- by Bonk Scotney

Our Selection was a very old hut when I bought it about 1954-5 from a syndicate who had built in 1928. I paid Doug Scott ₤5 for it and got the title for the hut. It was pretty broken-down and over-looked the Turere. You got to it by leaving the main Orongorongo Track from a point opposite Mac;s Hut, down a side track to a point over-looking the Turere. We had to do a lot of work on the hut – with the help of Jim Winchester, Mike Mitchell, my wife Rita and others, we carried up enough shingle from the Turere – a very steep climb of about 200ft – to mix with cement we had carried in over the track. With this we re-constructed the fire-place and chimney. The chimney was an old-fashioned lean-to one – the lean-to part leaned from the inside of the chimney down to the hut. It only ever had a dirt floor and unsatisfactory roof but we made it habitable.

The architecture of Our Selection was extremely simple – it was a genuine log cabin. It had been built out of split beech logs, bolted together with coach bolts on thick beech uprights so that the logs lay horizontally one on top of another for the full height of the walls all the way round. The door was entirely of native timber, constructed with an axe or an adze and the whole structure had no sawn timber what-ever. It had begun to subside sideways and a friend and I prized it up, put a stone underneath and kept the whole thing even by putting another log underneath.

Our selection occupied a very interesting and commanding position – on a high point in the beech forest, looking right down over a steep bank to the Turere. It never had a good fresh water supply, just a trickle from near the main Five-Mile Track which we dammed up.

Once Rita and I had a family the hut was unsuitable to take small children to. The hut was then used by Tarley (student at Rongatai College), and some friends of Bruce Coburn’s, the Bussells. Kent Bussell was the most active one. They used the hut for some years until, in a storm, a beech tree fell on the hut and almost demolished it. Fortunately no-one was in the hut at the time. The hut was now beyond repair.

Source: Bonk Scotney, A Park for the People 1920-2001: Rimutaka Forest Park Archive#69A

Our Selection in 1972 (Bruce Cockburn Photo Collection)

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