Friday, September 2, 2016

Response from Nick Bevin


DoC press release announcing the beginning of the demotion of John Scott's building at Aniwaniwa on Monday 5 September. The lies that DoC continue to use to justify their stance need to be highlighted.

Some of my comments on the DoC press release as follows:

1. DoC have not provided any evidence that they have considered "all practical options" .

2. Wairoa District Council did not 'condemn" the building and the council has admitted that the notice they issued to close the building was issued in error and were prepared to remove it.

3. Information obtained under an OIA shows that the " substantial amount of money trying to maintain the building" is less than half the cost of the demolition. DoC had documented an expenditure of $ 82,000 from 2005 to 2011.

4. DoC failed to act on the expert advice given to it from 2005 as how to improve and maintain the building. If they had it would be in far better state than that which they have knowingly allowed it to fall into.

5. The building has been deemed by two independent engineers NOT to be earthquake prone.

6. The actual cost of remedying the building has been shown to be in the order of $ 350,000 to $ 500,000 and NOT the 2010 estimated cost of $ 3 million that DoC continues to maintain.

7. DoC have yet to provide any evidence that they "explored a number of options over the years' to find another use and/or owner for the building.

8. There has not [been] any evidence, seen or heard, to suggest that DoC made any serious and/or sustained attempts to seek "proposals from parties interested in repurposing the building'.

9. The statement that DoC have all the appropriate permits is misleading. They actually do not need any permits (resource consent nor building consent) as the Wairoa District Council have been deficient in executing their mandate under the RMA to take listed heritage Buildings into their district plan where they are afforded much more protection than a Heritage New Zealand listing ever can.

10. The proposed use of timber salvaged from the building is focussed on the 4 x 1 matai ceiling sarking. No calculation has been done as to whether there will be enough material once salvaged for the new building. My calculations show that there will not be enough material that will survive the salvage and remachining that is required.

11. Given the reinforced concrete sub floor and floor structure of the building and its remote location the costs for demolition will inevitably exceed those quoted by DoC. This is tax payers money being spent here. What is the real bill here?

Old Visitor Centre to be dismantled - DoC

Media release 2 September 2016

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.


NZIA re Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre 2/9/2016

It is not good news that I have to share on the Visitor Centre, Aniwaniwa. Having just been to a meeting with representatives of DoC (A/Director General Bruce Parkes and Mervyn English) I have been advised of the following:

- DoC will be issuing a media statement later today confirming its decision to demolish the Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre
- Demolition work will commence on Monday 5 September 2016
- The demolition work will continue for 5-6 weeks
- DoC are implementing the decision of the Te Urewera Governance Board to demolish the building

Despite efforts to raise the serious shortcomings in the decision making on this building, which I know many of you are intimately aware of:
- Council’s decision to declare the building insanitary and earthquake prone
- Council’s inaction to see the building included within its District Plan register
- DoC’s 2011 call for expressions of interest, not widely or actively promoted by DoC
- Inadequate level of investment by DoC in the ongoing maintenance of the Visitor Centre for much of its existence
- DoC’s claims on the state of the building and extent of repairs/maintenance required
- Lack of urgent and immediate attention by DoC in maintenance issues as they arose
- The due consideration of the national significance of the architect John Scott and the Visitor Centre’s history and heritage in the decision making of DoC and Te Urewera Governance Board
- The definitive decisions of the Te Urewera Governance Board, despite other settlement claims in train and the Visitor Centre an asset of the Crown and not exclusively the Tūhoe or the Te Urewera Governance Board
- The lack of consideration by the Crown and the Te Urewera Governance Board in potentially ‘gifting’ the Visitor Centre to another party, which has occurred elsewhere - Great Barrier Island.

The NZIA will be advising all members of the decision today through the Bulletin. Other action includes alerting the media and seeking an urgent meeting with Minister Finlayson.

I’m sorry that I don’t have better news on this issue. The NZIA is however sincerely gratefully to everyone who has contributed, time, ideas, expertise to protect and conserve this national treasure.