There's a tempest brewing on the shores of Lake Waikaremoana.

The players are the late Bay architect John Scott, Ruapani and Tuhoe, Wairoa District Council, the Crown and, at its core, the doomed Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre.

It's one of Scott's best works. DoC-owned and on Tuhoe land, its lofty pavilions cascade through the bush. But under the Crown's shonky guardianship, its magnificence has been abandoned.

DoC is calling for the wrecking ball.


Scott's son, Jacob Scott, said the building deserves saving as it's "an extension of the Tuhoe story".

DoC, which has obviously neglected that narrative, told me it's too expensive to remedy.
Wairoa mayor Craig Little told me he was reluctant to spend further ratepayer money on it: "I don't think it's that great."

Heritage New Zealand told me it would provide conservation advice "if asked".

Tuhoe, jostling with Ruapani, wants it gone - and in doing so has been accused of a "colonial purge". The inference being the former Te Urewera National Park headquarters stands as a monument to colonialism.

Like its architect, Aniwaniwa is a unifying figure. The "modern marae" was designed to blend Pakeha and Maori values and stands as a precursor to Michael King's famous claim that this country has two indigenous cultures.

What stings is the very parties entrusted to nurture this taonga have unconscionably emerged as its executioner. Wairoa District Council, DoC, Heritage New Zealand and Tuhoe are respectively graceless, gutless, toothless and gormless.

It's no small wonder many, including this writer, are aghast at this cultural treason.