The Friends of the Ōtaki Rotunda are gearing up for restoration of the historic building at the former Ōtaki Children’s Health Camp.
At the Friends’ annual meeting on May 4, chair Di Buchan said a heritage conservation report had been completed by a heritage architect that included a detailed list of the work required.
“A quantity surveyor has now completed detailed costings for each of the restoration components so we know that the total cost will be in the vicinity of $1.3 million,” Di said. “Price rises could increase this sum significantly. On the other hand, we might be able to attract volunteers for some of the work and donations from building suppliers for some of the materials, which will help keep the costs down.”
The Friends have been running tours of the rotunda and old health camp buildings to raise funds. They also had a book sale last year that raised $2843.
Di said the group had a strong relationship with the current guardians of the site, the Department of Conservation, and was meeting soon with Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki to see how the old camp might be leased. Any lease would not include the rotunda, allowing the Friends to carry on with their restoration work.
“We have found [DoC] to be very supportive both in terms of dealing with issues such as obtaining funding from any sources within the department to address maintenance issues, and maintaining the grounds while we have waited for the relationship with Ngā Hapū of Ōtaki to be worked through and for a lease for the health camp buildings to be agreed,” Di said in her chair’s report.
DoC took over resposibility for the site after Stand Children’s Services moved out in 2019, ending the health camp tradition that began in 1932.