Life at the Hut

Patricia Latas
April 29, 2014 share
Ranger Hut on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island

12 April 2014


Life at the ranger hut is both routine and extrordinary. Every person on the island works very hard; long hours and often through the night and day. The rangers repair, fix, maintain, catch invisible birds, health check, replace transmitters, track, babysit volunteers and do so much more. They are men and women of great endurance, strength, dedication and knowledge.


Volunteers cook, clean, repair, maintain; they monitor mother birds at night; they carry huge packs and clean, disinfect and feed supplemental pellets to all the birds.


Scientists and university students monitor and maintain a number of scientific investigations and projects on Whenua Hou.


Dignitaries, politicians (note: separate from dignitaries), media, photographers, BBC film crews and lucky artist like myself are given the chance to know and broadcast news about the Kakapo Programme.

All this takes place in a small building which houses kitchen/common area, communications room, operations room, bunkhouse, veterinary clinic, kakapo ICU and chick hand-rearing facilities. Meals are prepared by volunteer cooks for 10-25 very hungry people. The hut is the center of data collection and entry, social activities, eating, sleeping and getting warm and dry before another cold, wet, windy night on a ridgetop on a nearly subantarctic island. EVERYONE works hard and pitches in...and that is why there are Kakapo today that are NOT displayed in a museum taxidermy case.

Just imagine, running uphill over a steep, muddy, foot-lassoing-root strewn trail in the complete darkness through sleeting rain and crashing limbs from the Antarctic winds--while carrying a box with an egg that is just pipping. And placing that tiny being where a new mother Kakapo can finish the job of hatching it. Then back down again and up again at anytime. Then the next morning doing some trail maintenance, cleaning the composting loo, and fixing a dodgy generator.


On the fridge are located fine artworks from adoring fans and volunteers--my competition!



Life at the hut.


Whenua Hou Island, Southland, NZ
New Zealand
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