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.”
Tait says that his people have pledged their support in saving the building because they are the original owners of the area. The building belongs to the Department of Conservation who had closed it in 2008 when it was deemed unsafe for staff and visitors by the Wairoa District Council. Designed by Māori architect John Scott, his son Jacob on behalf of their family believes that it can be saved and have the backing of Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana who intent to occupy the building.
“We will occupy until our lawyers get back to us to see the positives and negatives of the situation. They have the guidelines for us to see whether we are right or wrong but according to me we are in the right,” saysTait.
Following the Tūhoe settlement this area now comes under Te Urewera, Tūhoe have been in discussion with the Department of Conservation regarding this area, however DOC say that they have explored options for saving the building but no longer believe it is feasible to do so.
Tait says, “has left the building, they haven't given it to Te Uru Taumatua the building is still standing so by right that building belongs to us if it's still liveable who owns it.”
Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana says they will not bow down, Tait insists that the next time he returns if anyone wants to stop him coming here it has to be the police.
Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana intend to occupy this building this coming week.