Hamurana Springs Golf Club has come under the governance of a Ngati Rangiwewehi trust.

Te Tahuhu o Tawakeheimoa Trust will take over the running and maintenance of the club, which has a membership of nearly 200 people - many of whom are descendants of the iwi, club president Colin Watkins says.

Hamurana Springs was returned to Ngati Rangiwewehi as part of a multi-million-dollar Treaty of Waitangi settlement last year. The iwi-led changes have included international tour groups being charged $10 a head to visit the springs.

Mr Watkins said negotiations started about a year ago between the golf club and the trust. It was unanimously decided by its members at its recent annual meeting to support the decision.


"The iwi will run the club as well as the grounds and the membership will simply transfer to the new committee," he said.

"It's been really positive and we've worked well together to ensure a smooth transition. What I do know is that we have had some degree of frustration over the five-plus years we weren't allowed to develop because the land was in Crown ownership. We're pretty confident that the iwi will look to develop not just the golf club but the whole area so it's a little more upmarket."

Te Tahuhu o Tawakeheimoa Trust general manager Te Rangikaheke Bidois said they took over because the club came under iwi ownership.

"The trustees always wanted the members to keep playing golf. A joint working group was formed between the organisation and the club with regular meetings, at least once a month."

Mrs Bidois said at the club's annual meeting it was decided to hand everything over "lock, stock and barrel".

"The two organisations will continue to work on the golf club itself, membership will stay the same, the major change will be that it will be open seven days a week instead of five days over winter."

Public concerns have also been expressed about dogs not being allowed at the Hamurana Springs reserve. Mrs Bidois said currently they must be on a leash but future plans meant they might be banned from the area.

"There have been signs up for years saying dogs have to be on a leash. We have built up a commercial customer base and are charging people to come. But when people arrive at the gate, as soon as they get over the bridge they are letting their dogs go," she said.


"We have general and paying public here so it's very much about a health and safety issue. We are also following the local bylaw in terms of the reserve."

Mrs Bidois said they were working on a communication strategy with the Department of Conservation and had talked with the Rotorua Lakes Council, who had provided bylaw information on dogs in reserve areas.

"All of these things have been considered so it's not like we're doing it lightly.

"About 95 per cent of people who bring their dogs here are very respectful. Those signs have been here for 10 years so why should we all of sudden become the policemen over this?

"We are going to run a multi-faceted tourism operation and, unfortunately, as we grow the business, there won't be a place for dogs."