Sayers Hut

Sayer Hut is the oldest tramping hut in the Tararua Range and has a fascinating story to tell.

In 1878 Sayer and Potts were prospecting for gold at Totara Flats and accidentally burnt much of the bush on the river banks to form the flats that we know so well. In 1889 Sayer tried introducing hens to Totara Flats but they soon died out. Then in 1909 Sayer built his hut on the flats on the eastern side of the Waiohine River – the first private hut in the Tararua – that is still standing today.

You can take a look around the inside of the hut by panning the photo here – and then maybe decide to go there for yourself.

The easiest route to the hut is from the Mangaterere Road end – about a 3 hour fairly easy walk on a well maintained track. Another way is via the Totara Flats track from Holdsworth Lodge although that involves a crossing of the Waiohine River – which is easy enough provided there has not been significant rain but difficult, or even impossible, when the river is running high.

The hut has a nice open fire to warm the place and cook your tea. But don’t smash down trees for fire wood – simply collect the driftwood from the river. Even when wet this leached wood burns well and there is usually plenty to be found if you hunt about.

Sayer Hut
Sayer Hut

And then finally pay the hut fee and leave the hut and surroundings neat and tidy so others can also enjoy their stay there.

ps, for more Tararua photos visit

2 thoughts on “Sayers Hut”

  1. Wow! That’s very interesting Keith,
    What relation was Vic Sayer to R Sayer who built the hut ?

  2. On a deerstalking trip in the late 1950’s came across this hut which at that time was very basic but quite suitable for overnight. stays. On one trip met Vic Sayers there and after that made several trips in there with him. He told us that for a period of time
    when the grass on the flats would be well grown he and brother {brothers} would drive a mob of cattle through the bush and live in the hut while they grazed the flats. He showed us and took us through the way they took the cattle in. It was
    much quicker but a lot rougher and steeper than the holdsworth track, can’t remember where the access was to this area but
    it was much quicker than the Holdsworth . I am coming onto 90 now, great to be able to reflect on memories like this.


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