2 Sep 2016

Demolition of Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre poised to begin

1:40 pm on 2 September 2016

The controversial demolition of the historic Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre, next to Lake Waikaremoana, in the North Island, will begin next week.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has faced a chorus of opposition from architects and heritage supporters calling for it to review its decision to destroy what they say is a national treasure.

The visitors' centre at Te Urewera was built in 1976 and designed by the late John Scott, who is best known for the Futuna Chapel in Wellington.

The visitors' centre at Te Urewera was built in 1976 and designed by the late John Scott, who is best known for the Futuna Chapel in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

The Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre was designed by eminent Māori architect John Scott, who also designed the Futuna Chapel in Wellington.

Built in 1976, it was condemned as unsafe by DOC and closed in 2008.

DOC will begin dismantling the building on Monday.

It said could not save the building as it would have cost more than $3 million to bring it up to standard.

It was instead working with Tūhoe to develop a new visitor centre.

The Institute of Architects said the current visitor centre was an important piece of modern architecture.

The government was abdicating its responsibility to preserve the nation's heritage by allowing it to be demolished, the Institute said.