A Kerikeri community group is calling for a better designed, better located building to replace the fire-damaged Domain pavilion.

The council-owned pavilion used to house squash courts, showers and changing rooms, a grandstand and an upstairs space used by dance groups and a youth drop-in centre.

However, it has been boarded up and its users left in limbo since an arson attack in 2016.

It was to have been demolished with part of the insurance payout used to help the squash club, which used to own the pavilion, build new courts at Kerikeri Sports Complex.


The pavilion was given a reprieve after a campaign by councillor Dave Hookway who said the fire damage was not as severe as had been claimed and the building should be repaired.

However, fresh claims about the extent of damage mean the demolition option is back on the table.

Jo Lumkong, a member of a user group considering the future of Kerikeri Domain, said views were divided on the pavilion but all agreed some kind of multi-purpose community hub was needed.

Even before the fire the pavilion wasn't used to its potential and was plagued by vandalism because it blocked views of the Domain from Cobham Rd.

Her preference was to build a replacement as soon as possible. A new building could start small and be designed for future expansion.

The location also needed to change to open up sightlines and reduce antisocial behaviour.

''Long term we'd love to see a new pavilion built. The current building isn't functional and there are issues around safety,'' Lumkong said.

''There's a reason it keeps getting vandalised and repairing it doesn't address that. If it's rebuilt and well designed, a larger proportion of the population will be inclined to use it more frequently.''


Without the pavilion Kerikeri people didn't have a central place to meet and hold events.

Since the fire the youth group had been searching in vain for another space. Instead they now met outside on the basketball court.

Ideally a new pavilion would offer shelter, toilets and showers, a commercial kitchen, rooms for social enterprise, and multi-use spaces for community events.

The insurance payout could be used to make the building functional again but it would still need to be replaced in the long term, Lumkong said.

Other members of the user group include youth group, iwi and ratepayer representatives.

Former pro skater Dave Crabb is working on a new skate park; Lumkong's background is in design.

Mayor John Carter said a report on the pavilion was coming to the October 25 council meeting.

A facility was needed on the Domain but it didn't have to be the current pavilion.

''I'll be guided by the community,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the council has hired planning consultants to prepare a Reserve Management Plan for the Domain. They have met key users but no date has been set for wider public consultation.

Lumkong said it made no sense to develop a plan for the Domain if it didn't consider the pavilion.