New Zealand was the first country in the world to have a goverment-funded tourism department, and as part of its mandate it funded projects at key places such as Aoraki/Mt Cook, Fox Glacier and Tongariro to encourage the development of recreation and accommodation. Chancellor Hut was one such project. Funded by the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts, it was built from 1929-31 by the Public Works Department and then leased to a local operator to run.
By the 1970s, however, the hut had fallen into decline as the Fox Glacier receded and flying up to the high mountains became more affordable. The first conservation efforts started in the late 1970s, and in 2008 a major renovation restored the hut to its former glory.
A visit to Chancellor is still a very special experience. The original site—chosen by alpine guides Peter and Alec Graham, who also supervised the construction—has proven to be the ideal combination of a superb view with as sheltered a site as possible in this exposed location high above the first icefall of the Fox Glacier. The hut also has a long-drop toilet with a view that is unequalled by any in the Southern Alps—straight across the lower part of the glacier and out to the West Coast.