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Former Nazi’s name removed from Mt Hutt ski attractions

Former Nazi’s name removed from Mt Hutt ski attractions
April 23, 2021

New Zealand ski field Mt Hutt has reportedly removed references to a former Nazi military officer from its attractions.

Management at the Canterbury ski field Mt Hutt have removed the name of Willi Huber from a ski run and restaurant following an online protest and complaints from the New Zealand Jewish Council and the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand.

Huber, lauded as the ‘father of the mountain’ in a 2017 TVNZ Sunday programme, died in August last year, aged 98.

A member of Hitler’s Waffen-SS, Huber rose to the rank of Hauptsturmfuhrer (equivalent of a captain) during the Second World War before becoming a prisoner-of-war.

Arriving in New Zealand in 1953, in the early 1970s he spent a winter on Mt Hutt monitoring weather and plotting ski trails.

When the ski field opened in 1973, he was its first manager.

Following Huber’s death last year and news reports on his life and legacy, Rob Berg, President of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand, started an online petition to erase Huber’s name from Mt Hutt.

Subsequently, members of the New Zealand Jewish Council and the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand discussed the issue with Paul Anderson, Chief Executive of NZSki, the company that operates Mt Hutt, and Queenstown fields The Remarkables and Coronet Peak.

After the meeting, it was reported that NZSki would only change the names of the ski run and restaurant if evidence was presented linking Huber to war crimes.

However, as reported by New Zealand website newsroom. recent searches of Mt Hutt’s website show that Huber’s Run has been removed from the ski field’s trail map and the restaurant had been renamed Ōpuke Kai. (Ōpuke is the Māori name for Mt Hutt).

Confirming the changes, Anderson said the decision was made early this year and the changes were implemented in February.

He told newsroom. “we’ve had to take care on the way through to respect the views of a wide range of people and recognise that there were diverse opinions on the issue. We’ve just come to our decision that it’s time to move forward.”

Holocaust Centre Chairwoman, Deborah Hart welcomed the move, commenting “it is important that we don’t forget what happened in World War II - we had a lot of servicemen who gave their lives - and we don’t forget what happened in the Holocaust. The Waffen-SS were critical elements of the Nazi apparatus, and we shouldn’t be doing anything to honour them.”

Nonetheless, a plaque marking the site of a hut where Huber stayed while developing the ski field has and will not be removed, with Anderson saying it represents a “geographical record … that’s actually history”.

Anderson went on to state “there will always be a record of him (Huber) being the founder of Mt Hutt ski area, but given that we’ve learned in more recent times that some people were offended by his name appearing, we’ve just consulted with a bunch of people and decided that on balance it’s time to move forward.”

Images: Mt Hutt (top) and Willi Huber as he appeared in TVNZ's Sunday Programme in 2017 (below, courtesy of TVNZ).

Related Articles

7th April 2021 - NZSki welcomes Australians back to New Zealand slopes this winter

18th September 2020 - Mt Hutt installs New Zealand’s first eight-seater chairlift  

14th September 2020 - Calls for removal of former Nazi’s name from New Zealand ski run

6th August 2020 - New Zealand Government helps fund Upper Hutt’s new high-performance sports hub

16th June 2020 - Mt Hutt becomes first ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere to open in 2020

25th November 2019 - Mt Hutt named New Zealand’s best ski resort for fifth year

19th September 2019 - NZSki celebrates the return of kea to The Remarkables

13th June 2019 - Record conditions and multi-million-dollar upgrades marked at Mt Hutt’s 2019 snow season opening

5th November 2018 - Marking its best ever season, Mt Hutt announces 2019 developments

28th November 2018 - Fiona Boyer appointed to the role of General Manager Customer at NZSki

19th November 2017 - Canterbury’s Mt Hutt once again named New Zealand’s best ski resort

11th November 2017 - Adolf Hitler waxwork removed from Indonesian attraction

5th October 2017 - Mt Hutt opens New Zealand’s highest spa pool

3rd November 2016 - NZSki retains 2016 season pass prices for 2017

18th February 2014 - Climate change to impact ski resorts

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