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Second World War-era huts replaced at Waiouru

Waiouru Military Training Area has replaced Second World War-era huts that were built in their thousands with newer versions, which should be warmer and more weather-proof for soldiers undergoing training.

12 January, 2024

The new huts were built at Linton Military Camp as part of the School of Military Engineering (SME) Junior Carpentry course, and are being used to refresh Abbassia Camp, north of Waiouru, for the first time since the camp was constructed. 

“Four new huts have been positioned at Abbassia Camp. Each year the Junior Carpentry course will construct three to four huts and these will be moved to Waiouru,” said Major Gabrielle Gofton, who was chief Instructor SME, Land Operations Training Centre last year.

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Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Joe Hollander, director of the Engineer Corps Memorial Centre, whose father also trained at Waiouru in the Second World War, has researched the history of the old huts.

“Having lived in some of these old huts in both Linton and Waiouru, I can attest to their not being insulated, cold, draughty, leaky and of aged heritage,” he said.

“Hopefully the new SME-constructed huts will be a major improvement in comfort and design.”

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A new completed hut alongside the old.

A new completed hut alongside the old.

Interior of the old Second World War-era huts.

Interior of the old Second World War-era huts.

Interior of the updated huts.

Interior of the updated huts.

When Waiouru camp was being established during the Second World War, the Housing Department was contracted to construct about 8500 two-man huts (at a cost of 65 pounds each, or about $7,000 today).

About 24,900 huts of varying sizes were built. Many of these were sent up to New Caledonia to support operations in Noumea, to the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa to accommodate the US Marines and the remainder scattered about the many camps and bases established throughout New Zealand from 1942 onwards.

After the war, the huts were moved to satellite camps such as Abbassia, Baggush, Helwan, Home Valley, Imjim, Paradise Valley, Six Cross and Westlawn to support exercises and training.