Demolition of Aniwaniwa visitors centre at Lake Waikaremoana nears completion
29 September 2016
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The controversial demolition of an architecturally renowned visitors centre at Lake Waikaremoana is almost complete.
The Aniwaniwa visitor centre, designed by architect John Scott, was set among native forest alongside State Highway 38, and was opened in 1974.
It once housed Colin McCahon's triptych Urewera Mural, which was stolen from the site in 1997 but returned after 15 months.
The painting, commissioned for the building, has been at Auckland Art Gallery since the top floor closed.
The dilapidated visitor centre, designed by the late John Scott, was condemned in 2008.
The Department of Conservation-owned centre had weather-tightness and stability issues for many years and was condemned by the Wairoa District Council, vacated and closed in 2008.
DOC has previously said the decision to dismantle the centre was a difficult one, given the wide interest in the building, but a 2010 estimate put the cost of bringing it up to current building standards and refitting it at about $3 million.
Timber from the Aniwaniwa centre is being used in the construction of a new wharehou being built on the edge of Lake Waikaremoana.
Workers began the dismantling work on September 5 and DOC spokesman Steve Brightwell said despite wet weather in the area, the project had remained on its original schedule with the removal of concrete foundations the last part of the task
to be tackled.
Steel reinforcement out of the concrete would be salvaged before the concrete was crushed for use as roading aggregate.
Timber from the centre was being reused in the building of a new wharehou (visitor centre) currently under construction on the Waikaremoana lake edge.