Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Battle over lake building

THE former visitor centre at Lake Waikaremoana has sparked further dispute. Advocates claim the Crown is demolishing it by neglect, and local Maori are threatening to occupy it.

The construction of the new visitor centre, Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana, is well under way on a lakeside site near Waikaremoana Holiday Park.

But the original 1976 building, located further inland and designed by Maori architect the late John Scott, is visibly deteriorating, to the dismay of a group of architects and heritage lovers who are claiming political interference.

Loosely organised under the name Historic Places Aotearoa (HPA), the group says the Department of Conservation (DoC) “for many years has shown an inability to manage built heritage properly. This is no more clearly demonstrated than with the managaement of the visitor centre”.

The building is listed as a category 1 building, with government organisation Heritage New Zealand (formerly the Historic Places Trust) but HPA says DoC is planning to demolish it “in the near future”.

“Demolition would mean the loss of one of this country’s significant pieces of modern architecture,” says the advocacy group. Gisborne architect James Blackburne is a member.

HPA says it understands that Heritage NZ staff have been instructed to not advocate for the retention of the building, which “would appear to be political meddling at its worst and needs to be highlighted to the New Zealand public before it is too late”.

“Heritage NZ is meant to be an autonomous Crown entity. Obviously some higher powers have forgotten this.

“This is the exact type of political meddling that many in the heritage fraternity were concerned about years ago when Heritage NZ became an autonomous Crown entity.”

More here. Gisborne Herald 11/7/16

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana intend to occupy the Aniwaniwa Visitors centre

Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana intend to occupy the Aniwaniwa Visitors centre owned by the Department of Conservation in the hope that the conservation reopens the centre. However, the building has been deemed unsafe and has been vacant since 2008.

There is a power struggle in Lake Waikaremoana and it all starts with the Aniwaniwa Visitors centre.

Tahurioterangi Trainor Tait (Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana) says, “We are against the dismantling of this building because we believe that it is not right to do so.”

Maori Television More here (plus video)

Maori architect's treasure under threat

Waikaremoana iwi Ngati Ruapani has asked the Environment Court to block the demolition of one of the country's architectural treasures.

Spokesperson Vern Winitana says the former Te Urewera National Park headquarters was designed by the first Maori registered architect, John Scott of Ngati Kahungunu.

It opened in 1976 and was furnished with taonga from iwi around the lake as well as a mural by Colin McCahon.

Mr Winitana says the Department of Conservation allowed it to fall into disrepair after it was closed eight years ago, and now wants to demolish it with support from Ngai Tuhoe.

"Te Uru Taumata, the Ngai Tuhoe representative group, want to see it demolished and want to expunge, their words, the colonial environment this building purports to represent. That's their view. We disagree with that. We indicated some years ago Ngati Ruapani was keen to see the building retained, and if they are going to leave it now, we will take it over," he says.

Mr Winitana says professionals assessed the building when Ngati Ruapani occupied it last week and concluded it was structurally sound and just needed some cosmetic repairs.

Radio Waatea More here...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The New Zealand Home - TVNZ

The New Zealand Home (TV1, 7.30pm). A new local series with a slightly gimmicky premise: architect Ken Crosson introduces sports-jock DJ and host of Our First Home Goran Paladin to the many styles of New Zealand architecture so he can get an idea of what to do with his Birkdale “do-up”. Paladin plays dumb a little too well, but Crosson makes the cool stuff, such as the Martin House in Hastings by Maori architect John Scott, accessible.
NZ Listener & on Stuff
Starts Friday 8 July 2016 On Demand here...

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Gregory O'Brien: Futuna Chapel

Kim Hill talks to painter, poet, curator and writer Gregory O'Brien about his new book with Nick Bevin, Futuna: Life of a Building. Here...

Futuna: Life of a Building

Since its grand opening in 1961, Wellington's Futuna Chapel – devised by architect John Scott and artist Jim Allen – has held a singular place in New Zealand's cultural history. Futuna: Life of a Building tells the remarkable story of the chapel's inception and construction, and its status beyond as well as within the architectural world. The book also tells the vexed story of the chapel's sale to a developer in 2001 and its subsequent dereliction and, at the eleventh hour, rescue. Since then, the chapel has been transformed from a place of Catholic worship to a non-denominational centre for spiritual, cultural and artistic expression. With essays by Chris Cochran, David Mitchell, Niall McLaughlin, Gregory O’Brien and Nick Bevin and photographs by Paul McCredie and Gavin Woodward, this book takes us into the heart of one of the most dynamic and affecting human-made structures in Oceania. Here...