Chancellor Hut

Fox Glacier, Westland National Park / Tai Poutini National Park

  • Chancellor Hut, Fox Glacier. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Jonathan Astin. Taken By: Jonathan Astin - Ruahine Tramper. Date: 31/01/2013.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 5479 Date Entered 1st July 1993


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Res 1018 (CT WS1B/1110, NZ Gazette 1960 p. 416), Westland Land District and the building known as Chancellor Hut thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage New Zealand Board meeting on 25 June 2015.

City/District Council

Westland District


West Coast Region

Legal description

Pt Res 1018 (CT WS1B/1110, NZ Gazette 1960 p. 416), Westland Land District


Chancellor Hut, built in 1930-1, is the oldest high level hut in the Southern Alps still on its original site and has historical significance in its direct association with Peter and Alec Graham, brothers who forged an almost unrivalled reputation as guides and mountaineers in the early years of climbing in the Southern Alps. It also has social significance as one of a series of early huts built for the sport of mountain climbing, the hut has continued to play an important role in the development of mountaineering, ski-mountaineering and tramping in Westland National Park.

Adventurers and visitors had admired the beauties of the glacier country since the nineteenth century, and in the early twentieth century active steps were taken to promote Westland and its Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers as the scenic wonderland of New Zealand. Mountain guides, Alec and Peter Graham, were responsible for persuading the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts of the necessity for the hut. Planned in 1929, Chancellor Hut was constructed in 1930-31 by the Graham brothers, and other mountaineers, who packed in building materials up the Fox Glacier in late 1930. The hut was in use as soon as it was completed in mid-January 1931.

Sited at 1200 metres on a glacial shelf high above the north side of the Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe, Chancellor Hut is a two-roomed timber framed hut with gabled roof, clad on the exterior with corrugated iron. It was built to a simple rectangular plan measuring 7.4 metres by 3.7 metres. The roof form is gabled, with the ridge running the long dimension (east-west). On the north elevation are two timber doors which provide access to each of two rooms inside. Windows on the south and north elevations were originally sash (now hopper style casements). The interior framing is lined with patterned congoleum and the floor is tongue and groove timber supported on timber piles. Originally the hut had a chimney and fireplace at the centre of the east wall. The plan arrangement of a large room for cooking and sleeping for men, and a smaller room for women follows a pattern of earlier huts such as Waihohonu Hut (1904, Tongariro National Park) and Defiance Hut (1913, relocated to Franz Josef town centre). From the start, the Chancellor Hut also had an internal door between the two rooms. As such, it provides an important link with later hut building styles and also provides an insight into changing attitudes to social mixing of the sexes.

Chancellor Hut has provided years of refuge and shelter for generations of mountaineers. The hut has undergone a number of alterations since first constructed. Works in 1972 involved the removal of the fireplace and chimney, repiling the front of the hut, replacement of some timbers, and replacement of exterior doors and windows. In 1976 a two-light fixed window was added on the east wall where the fireplace had been. In 2000 further work was carried out, including installation of drains, replacement of some bearers, joists and piles, and concealed additional bracing.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1972 -
Fireplace and chimney removed, some timber replacement

1976 -
Window installed in east elevation

2000 -
Further timber replacement, installation of drains

Original Construction
1931 -

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

20th April 2015

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand