Over the weekend, one of the most popular huts in the Tararua Ranges was hit by lightning during a thunderstorm.

The Department of Conservation [DOC] said Powell Hut was struck on Friday, May 20. No one was believed to be staying in the hut at the time.

“There has been minimal damage to the hut. However, the fire alarm, power, and gas systems have all been damaged and are currently offline,” DOC Wairarapa operations manager Hayden Barrett said.

“These systems were switched off once we were made aware of the issue by a member of the public on Saturday.”

On Monday, DOC staff, a gas fitter, and an electrician inspected the hut to determine what was needed to reopen it.

“It will be closed for several weeks at least,” Barrett said.

He said that DOC was working to reopen the hut as soon as possible.

Exact timings would depend on aligning contractor availability with good weather conditions to fly them to the hut, situated a four-hour walk uphill from the Holdsworth road end.

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