Lake's tribal base open for business.
“SPECTACULAR”, “stunning” and “incredible” are just some of the words guests used to describe Lake Waikaremoana’s new Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana.
The long-awaited opening of Waikaremoana Tribal Authority’s new building saw guests travel from all over New Zealand to be part of the special day.
Visitor experience manager Derek Brenchley said work on the $6 million living building went right down to the wire.
“We worked into the night and were up again early this morning,” Mr Brenchley said.
The grand unveiling was the culmination of years of planning, months of building and tireless efforts of many individuals, including the Waikaremoana Tribal Authority and volunteers.
The new building melds seamlessly into the lake-scape and houses several different spaces.
“The main focus of the building is tribal affairs,” Mr Brenchley said.
“This is where the Tribal Authority sits: the general manager Waikaremoana Tribal Authority, health manager, service delivery manager and finance staff.
“Then we have a component, a learning space and a small retail/visitor information section.”
Mr Brenchley says his function as the visitor experience manager is to run the and the retail space/visitor information space.
“The stories we tell about Waikaremoana have to come from Waikaremoana Tribal Authority. They need to be approved as true and accurate records of their history.
“I’m the link between Waikaremoana Tribal Authority and Te Uru Taumatua.”
Mr Brenchley, who has managed Waikaremoana Holiday Park with his wife for the last three-and-a-half years, says despite living at the lake and spending time up at Waikaremoana as a child, there has been a lot of learning for his new position.
“It’s a very interesting and fascinating role,” he said.
The opening of Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana began with a blessing by kaumatua at 4am. Later there was a Pohiri and a walk-through of the new facility.
It was shoes off for everybody on the beautiful timber floors reclaimed from the recently-demolished Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre.
A celebratory feast and entertainment began in the afternoon and continued into the evening.
Mother Nature smiled on the event. After a rainy start to the day, the sun shone brightly allowing hundreds of guests to enjoy the building and the breathtaking scenery before the thunder began and rain clouds rolled in.
Mr Brenchley said aside from downing tools for a couple of days as a result of a snow fall mid-winter, work had been continuous since breaking ground in the second week of February 2016.