The Department of Conservation has begun dismantling and removing the old Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre this morning.

DoC said late this morning a small group were taken on site to carry out a farewell with "dignity and respect" throughout the building, this ceremony included karakia and waiata.

A karakia was held at 5am by the Waikaremoana Tribal Authority at the site to clear the way for the work to start and also for those workers who will be carrying out the work over the next six to eight weeks.

The building, designed by lauded Bay Maori architect John Scott, was closed in 2008. Last week his son, Jacob Scott, labelled DoC's decision to demolish it "criminal."

Yet DoC said it had followed due diligence and the building would be too expensive to repair.


Work has begun this morning on securing and making the site and building safe for the Auckland company contracted to carry out the work.

A small DoC project team is overseeing the dismantling with Te Uru Taumatua who are managing the site and surrounds.