A brief history
The Taranaki Alpine Club was formed in 1930 and very quickly set about putting a hut on the mountain.
Over 1933 the club started the project, and on June 2nd 1935 it was officially opened by the Club Patron and named for the legendary Maori Tahurangi, who lit a fire on the summit. Each Royal Birthday weekend we celebrate the Lodge birthday with the traditional cutting of a cake.The site of Tahurangi Hut was on the original summit route, just south of Humphries Castle.It was from here that the Club staged it’s “Open Climb” event at the beginning of each year. Always popular, this exploded with record numbers of the public turning out for the event. During the time Tahurangi Hut was in use, climbers could be seen walking by torch light up the North Ridge track to the Hut. Later events saw numbers of 600 turn out! With such popularity, the club was forced to introduce a maximum number of participants; and ever since a waiting list has been introduced!During it’s time, Tahurangi hut was extended a number of times, introducing more bunk space and a memorial wing for Returned Services Soldiers. Attempts were even made at installing a wind turbine for a small generator. The mountain blew this apart very quickly! The pieces are still there if you look.Another Hut was also opened by the Club between Tahurangi Hut and the present Tahurangi Lodge; a war error Nissin dome hut. This was dismantled in the 1950’s; again the mountain helped out and blew some of the hut to pieces.
During the 1960’s, the Club sought to build a new hut at a new site on the Hen and Chickens development area. This is where Tahurangi Lodge is today. In 1968 Tahurangi Lodge was officially opened to a large group and was well used by club members.
In 1998 a major refit and renovation was embarked upon, and an extension to the lodge area and roof line added space downstairs and a larger dining and lounge area upstairs.
During the early part of the 20th century, the club briefly held a tradition of lighting a fire on the summit to celebrate and usher in the New Year. When it was celebrated, this was looked for by many within the Taranaki province.
The Club has held Club nights routinely since its inception, with venues changing from time to time as needed. These have been held as regularly as weekly, twice per month and are now currently held once a month. When vehicles were less prominent, and access to the mountain more difficult, many a club trip started at a Friday Club night and ended on Sunday evening when the last member was dropped home!
The Club has a strong connection to the mountain with many accomplished climbers having developed their skills here, and gone on to accomplish significant summits and first ascents around the world.
Early Search and Rescue operations were fielded by Taranaki Alpine Club members. In fact, the Club was pivotal in the formation of the Taranaki Alpine Cliff Rescue service and many members are active in TACR today.
The Club has now celebrated more than 80 years of incorporation and continues to hold our annual Open Climb having taken over 10,000 people up Taranaki Mounga, run’s snow craft instruction courses in winter and alpine rock courses in summer and operates a trips programme for members.