5 Sep 2016

Demolition of historic DOC building begins

3:34 pm on 5 September 2016

Demolition of the Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre next to Lake Waikaremoana has now begun, despite protests from a group of architects and artists.

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. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

The building was condemned as unsafe by the Wairoa District Council because of leaks and was closed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) in 2008.

The building was designed in the 1970s by Māori architect John Scott, who also designed the Futuna Chapel in Wellington.

A group of architects and artists have been at the site protesting the demolition of the Category 1 heritage-listed building, which they say is a national treasure.

Institute of Architects president Christina van Bohemen earlier told Morning Report there was pressure to proceed with demolition because Ngāi Tūhoe wanted to reuse timber from the visitors' centre in a new building being constructed nearby.

In a statement, DOC said a small group, including family of the late John Scott, were taken on site to carry out a farewell including karakia and waiata.

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