$200k scout den opens a year after arson

By Imran Ali

Kamo Scout Group has a new home- less than a year after their Kamo Sports Park clubrooms were badly destroyed in an arson attack.

A new $200,000 den was opened with a blessing, breakfast, games, campfire and supper on Saturday, with Whangarei Mayor Morris Cutforth among nearly 100 guests in attendance.

On November 19, last year, the scout den, on the edge of Kamo Sports Park, was extensively damaged in an arson attack.

The fire caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage and destroyed the den's contents, including eight kayaks worth about $16,000. The arsonist has never been caught.

Backpacks, entire contents of the resource room full of art supplies and trophies were among the items destroyed in the blaze.

The scouts raised almost $200,000 to build a new den. The Barn Company in Whangarei erected a new building, about 20 metres away from the group's old site which is now a carpark.

Scout group leader Peter Bayne said a dawn powhiri, performed by four local hapu, was followed by breakfast before the group's patron Lew Wyke cut the ribbon to officially open the new building.

"We're pleased to have a new home that we can settle into, re-grow and re-group to be the force we used to be," Mr Bayne said.

He said lots of donations and gifts in kind had been handed in, which included a double kayak and kitchen utensils.

"We managed to get a new building in just under a year.

"Once the flooring went off, the building was up in five days.

"The (Whangarei District) Council negotiated a new lease that allows us to expand this hall later on," he said.

The group used facilities at the Kamo rugby club, Kamo Primary School and the Kensington hall after the fire.

Kamo Scout Group is 80 years old and currently has 80 child members in uniform.

- Northern Advocate

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