CSC Bunkum #1 2024 - Dates, subs, work parties, farewell to a founding member

April 3 2024

The first bunkum for 2024 and the good news is RAL have confirmed that "we are officially all on for Winter 2024" and that season passes will go on sale this month. The Christie committee has met twice already this year and planning for the season is well underway. While dates for quite a few of the regular mountain events are still to be confirmed, we do have firm dates for the Christie Derby (Aug 8), Mens and Ladies Few Days (Aug 11-13 and 25-27), and the Christie Club Races (Sep 28). Please keep your eye on our calendar - dates will be entered once confirmed.

Subscription invoices will be sent out over the next few weeks. Please let me know asap if your, or your family's, membership details have changed. Are your juniors still juniors? Do you have family members that are in tertiary education and could benefit from Tertiary membership? Are last year's Tertiary members still eligible? It saves a lot of time if this info is processed before invoices are generated.

We're always looking for new members so we're asking you to spread the Christie message. Word of mouth works well for a club like ours and we love to welcome friends of friends!

The normal pre season Provisioning Work Party has proved difficult to schedule in the last few years as we're dependent on helicopter drops to transport provisions to the lodge. Weather and availability etc. means timings of these are usually only confirmed a few days ahead. As we only need a small number of people to move the supplies into the lodge, we aren't asking for a huge number of volunteers at this stage. However, if you're flexible and may be able to make it to the lodge on a couple of days' notice, please contact Steve McLennan at

The pre season Cleanup Work Party will be held on the weekend of June 22-23. This is where we give the lodge a comprehensive top to bottom clean and prepare for winter. Juniors are welcome! Please let me know if you'd like to help out - Remember, work party attendance exempts you from the Work Party levy in your annual subs – a saving of $200 per Senior member.

You may have seen a recent picture of the lodge's new INTAKS Scaffolding and Edge Protection system in action on our Facebook page. No more teetering on high ladders while working on higher sections! Thanks to member Peter Chapman, MD at INTAKS - this is a great addition to our maintenance equipment.

Christiania archives - the committee is in the process of arranging for the club collection of archive documents to be donated to Hamilton City Library. Our records will be digitized with the originals securely stored and preserved. Records will become available for public viewing (material such as personal information is restricted). We will share online links once available, likely to be later this year or early 2025. If you have any club records you think are of interest, please contact me at and I will put you in touch with Bryan Clements who is overseeing this project. Thanks to Doug Downs for his recent donation – those records will be included in this digital archive.

A sad note to finish - we acknowledge the passing of Ewen Christie, one of the founders of Christiania and first President, late last year. We owe Ewen, and other founding members, a huge debt for their vision and years of work establishing the club and lodge. They're responsible for what we enjoy today. Here's an obituary provided by Ewen's son, Alasdair:

Ewen Christie was born in Waipukurau 19.11.1924, and died in Auckland 21.12.2023 aged 99.

He studied architecture in Christchurch, worked for the housing department in Wellington (a great training ground) after World War II, during which he served briefly in the Air Force in the Solomon Islands.

Ewen married Ailsa McKenzie in Wellington in 1954, then shifted to Hamilton, which was their first home for a couple of years. During that time they became great friends of the Meltzer family, and it was while driving back from Whakapapa in the winter of 1954 with Neil Meltzer in Neil's father Sam's car that the idea of Christiania Ski Club was conceived and set in motion. Following a series of public meetings that year Christiania was formed, with Ewen as the Club's first president and Ailsa as the first interim secretary. Ewen designed the club, helped fundraise & find a spot at Whakapapa. The funds were successfully raised, a site on Whakapapa obtained, building materials carried to the site and the club was underway. The first annual report recorded that the year ended with money in the bank, so a success. This was then followed by numerous working bees with everyone providing different skills, without which there would not be a club.

Ewen & Ailsa shifted to Taupo two years later where Ewen had his own architectural practice, Ewen Christie & Associates. Ewen was involved with many building projects on Ruapehu including the RAL workers accommodation behind the Chateau, a major alteration of the Chateau conference facilities and a number of other club buildings on Whakapapa. In the surrounding area Ewen designed a number of public, institutional, corporate and residential buildings including the workers camp for the Italian tunnellers working on the Tongariro power scheme in the 1960's and in 1961 the Taupo Fire Station, a very visible part of the Taupo landscape for anyone on the way to Ruapehu.

Ewen followed this with a varied commercial architectural practice with Murray North Partners in Rotorua, semi retirement in Nelson which included a major piece of work for Nelson City Council on managing the historic architectural character of Nelson's buildings, and recently retirement in Auckland close to family.

While Ewen moved from Hamilton he never lost his connection with Whakapapa, the Club or the many people involved with that great pastime – skiing on Whakapapa.

Ewen and Ailsa Christie at Whakapapa in the 1950s