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Old Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre to be dismantled

Media release

2 September 2016

Old Visitor Centre to be dismantled

The Department of Conservation begins the dismantling and removal of the old Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre next week.

DOC Operations Director Meirene Hardy-Birch says DOC has considered all practical options for the old building since it was condemned by the Wairoa District Council, vacated and closed in 2008.

“This has been a difficult decision as so many parties have an interest in the building. We have had to balance those interests and it hasn’t been easy.

The 41-year-old building had weather tightness and stability issues for many years. Prior to its closure in 2008 the Department spent a substantial amount of money trying to maintain the building including re-roofing and re-cladding it, which was unsuccessful.

The 2010 estimated cost to bring the building up to current building standards and refit it for use was around $3m.

“We have explored a number of options over the years. We even sought proposals from parties interested in repurposing the building without success.”

The Department is now working with the Te Urewera Board and Ngai Tūhoe to enact the spirit of the Te Urewera settlement.

We are also working with Ngai Tūhoe in Te Urewera to ensure the spirt of the old building is bought into the new Wharehou currently under construction.

DOC have all the appropriate permits to dismantle the building, Hardy-Birch said.

Dismantling of the John Scott designed and DOC owned building at Waikaremoana marks a new era of visitor experience at Waikaremoana.

Some architects have opposed the move, as they are concerned for the legacy of the acclaimed architect of the building John Scott.

Chairman of the Waikaremoana Tribal Authority Lance Rurehe, respects these views but is equally determined to truly reflect a tangata whenua personality to enable a genuine Te Urewera Waikaremoana visitor experience. “Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana is merely that beginning.”

The Department is working with Te Uru Taumatua on the proposed development of a new Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana, with visitor information, located at Home Bay adjacent to the Waikaremoana Holiday Park.

Tūhoe and the Department of Conservation have partnered on the new development, with Tūhoe requiring a lake side location and setting to house heritage and visitor information, café, and overall connectedness to landscape, nature, lake, history, community and tangata whenua. A place for the whole whanau.

Chair of Te Urewera Board and Tūhoe - Te Uru Taumatua Tāmati Kruger said: “The Tūhoe investment into the new build exceeded that of DOC’s as a feature of Tūhoe leadership and influence in the new Tribal owned Visitor Centre. Or put another way, as designers of the new build Waikaremoana people will be free to express their world in the unique way they choose to do that.”

“Timber from the old visitor centre will be used in the new Wharehou. This will be a foundation upon which the visitors will come, and collaboration will occur. We all have a wish for the collective memory or wairua forged from relationships that have occurred through the old whare as an endowment in the new Wharehou,” he said.

An Auckland company will start the process of making the site and building safe onMonday September 5 before dismantling begins. The cost of dismantling the building, transferring the timber, removing, salvaging and disposing of any material at an approved landfill, and restoration of the site will cost around $180k.

–Ends–


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