Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 29 March 2012 Contents LOCAL NEWS
29 March, 2012 | Page 17
A descendant of the New Zealand
rolled oats empire magnate, Ross
Harraway is enjoying his stress-
free life of a DOC ranger at Clinton
Hut on the Milford Track.
In 1867 Ross’s great great
grandfather, Henry Harraway,
started Harraways flour mill in
Green Island, Dunedin. Henry and
his wife Catherine with their 21
children lived next to the mill and
11 of his sons made up their own
cricket team. If you ever doubted
whether a bowl of porridge for
breakfast each morning was good
for you, think again.
“Needless to say, you’ll always see
Harraways rolled oats in the hut,”
Although you can still buy
Harraways oats in the
supermarket, the company is
no longer in the hands of the
Harraway family. In 1944 it was
purchased by Charles Hudson.
“The last Harraway shareholder
in the company is now a Hudson.
She was my father’s cousin and
she married Charles Hudson of
Cadbury Schweppes Hudson. My
immediate family has no interest
in it,” Ross said.
He grew up on a small farm in
Duntroon, North Otago, with his
six brothers and sisters. A keen
tramper, hunter and a long-term
member of North Otago Search
and Rescue, Ross spent most of
his working life in Kurow in Waitaki
Valley. Initially he drove stock
trucks for a few years. Later he
managed Waitaki Transport and
then he ran his own transport
company for 15 years, which at
its peak employed as many as
14 people. When the stress of
running his own business and
dealing with an ever-changing
economic environment became
too much, Ross sold the firm and
in 2003 moved to Te Anau with his
Because of his life-long interest
in tramping, hunting and
conservation, taking on a hut
warden’s role with DOC seemed
like a dream job for Ross. Not only
was he paid to do things he loved
doing, but also in comparison with
his “previous life” this was pretty
It took some getting used to
though. Coming from one of the
driest climates in New Zealand
— the Waitaki Valley, to Dumpling
Hut, which is in one of the wettest
parts of the country, was a bit of a
shock for Ross.
“I was a bit spooked up about
the floods when I first came in. I
started off at Dumpling Hut. Did
that for four years. In Dumpling
you can get the Kurow annual
rainfall in one day.”
According to Ross trampers react
differently to these events. Some
panic, some are quite laid back
about it, others are excited.
“Some of them worry about
getting their feet wet, but then
you get them wading through
waist-deep water and once they
get to a hut and get dry, they
are on a real high, 99 percent of
them,” he said.
Being a hut ranger you need to
a cleaner, builder, repairman,
plumber, carpenter, electrician,
track maintenance worker,
problem solver, negotiator, public
speaker and a stand-up comedian.
In his evening talk the lanky 6’6”
ranger explains to trampers the
merits of pure mountain spring
water available on tap at the hut.
“I was only 5’6” when I started this
job nine years ago,” he said.
And guess how do Mr and Mrs
Harraway spend their free time?
“I work eight days on, six days
off, which is a good lifestyle”
Ross explains. “My wife, Carol
works week on, week off on
the Navigator and in our week
off we go tramping or hunting
for a change (he laughs). Semi-
retirement I call it.”
• Author’s note: Before I visited
Ross at Clinton Hut I was warned
not to bring too much food,
because “Ross does a mean
stew”. But nothing prepared me
for the royal treatment I received.
For dinner we had wild venison
stew, served with new potatoes
from Ross’s garden and apple and
rhubarb crumble for desert.
The next morning Ross cooked
delicious porridge for breakfast
(Harraways oats, of course!) and
baked fresh scones for morning
tea. That’s hospitality at its best.
Porridge powers Clinton Hut ranger
DOC Clinton Hut ranger Ross Harraway giving a nature talk at Clinton Hut
DOC Clinton Hut ranger Ross
Harraway pictured at the Clinton River
A chance encounter with a Kepler Track hut ranger earlier this year gave Alina
Suchanski an idea for a new series about Fiordland hut rangers. In this second
instalment she introduces Ross Harraway of the Clinton Hut on the Milford Track.
Fiordland’s schools and early
childhood facilities are set to lead
the way in conservation education
as the ‘Kids Restore the Kepler’
project enters a new phase.
The Fiordland Conservation Trust
(FCT) has this month appointed
an education coordinator to fully
integrate the project into the
curriculum, beginning at pre-
school and continuing through
to Year 13. This role is funded by
Kids Restore NZ in addition to its
current sponsorship of the project.
With a background in teaching
and conservation work, Caroline
Carter will take up this role in April.
Ms Carter has lived in Te Anau for
the past 12 years and has been
involved with this project from the
Ms Carter said said Kids
Restore the Kepler was a major
conservation project with a
difference. As well having
conservation goals seeking to
reduce pests and reintroduce
threatened species to the Kepler
area, the project also has a strong
education focus .
“The project aims to help
Fiordland’s young people develop
knowledge, values and skills so
they may be confident, connected
and actively engaged learners,
who are able to care for their
environment now and in the
future,” she said.
While the Department of
Conservation, under contract
to the FCT, oversees the
operational work in the Kepler
area, the education programme
is a collaborative effort involving
students, teachers and parents
from Fiordland College, Te Anau
Primary and Mararoa School,
Fiordland Kindergarten, Southern
Stars early learning centre and
the wider community. It was an
exciting model for the future
of conservation education in
Fiordland – children of all ages
interacting and learning together
and with their community to
further the health and well-being
of their environment, she said.
To find out how you can
get involved visit www.
nz or contact Caroline Carter at
Boost for Kepler
Conservation advocate Caroline Carter who has been appointed to the newly created position of education coordinator
for the Kids Restore the Kepler project.
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