About the Trust
To conserve for posterity the Rotunda building, because of its heritage significance as both an architecturally distinctive building, and as the site of a socially significant institution, the Ōtaki Children’s Health Camp.
To this end the trust may undertake the following:
Rent or own the Rotunda building.
Hold reserves of funds for the restoration, maintenance and appropriate use of the Rotunda.
Manage the Rotunda to ensure that it is used for one or more of the following charitable purposes:
The advancement of education and the relief of poverty, sickness or disability with a special focus upon children and young persons.
Any other purpose which benefits the Ōtaki community.
The Trust shall only use its property and funds for charitable purposes within New Zealand.
In 1931 at Otaki Beach, the first permanent site for a health camp was built. Now closed, the grounds and buildings are under DOC management until their future has been decided.
The Trust has been formed to preserve and restore the hexagonal shaped building, (the rotunda), which was used as a children's dormitory. The Friends of the Ōtaki Rotunda is a registered charitable trust, number CC56810.
Protected from demolition, but not from deterioration, by its status as a Heritage New Zealand Category One building, it remains a striking structure on the exterior. The interior, with its seamless blend of form and function, displays a stunning clarity and harmony.
Friends of the Otaki Rotunda was formed at a public meeting in Otaki on 27 February 2019 with Di Buchan as Chair and Jock Phillips as her deputy. Its goal is to preserve the rotunda for public use. Since Heritage New Zealand now recognises the total site and all the buildings as an Historic Place.
The Board of Trustees
DI BUCHAN QSM | CHAIR
JP MPP, FEIANZ, CEnvP (I/A Specialist)
Di spent her working life as a social and environmental impact assessor and researcher on projects throughout New Zealand and the Pacific. For 20 years she was managing director of Corydon Consultants Ltd based in Wellington. At the beginning of 2000 she and her husband purchased a property in Otaki and moved to Otaki permanently in 2010.
When she semi-retired in 2015, Di began to research the history of the Otaki Children’s Health Camp. This resulted in the publication of a book on the health camp called Sun, Sea and Sustenance. Through her research she fell in love with the rotunda building and the memories it contained for thousands of children and staff all over New Zealand.
When Stand Children’s Services decided to close the camp Di was determined to save this building which, as a unique structure in the first permanent children’s health camp, came to represent the health camp movement throughout New Zealand. She was joined by others who felt the same way and so was born Friends of the Otaki Rotunda.
Di is an active participant in the environmental protection movement and has established a trust, DB Environmental Trust to support land-use changes that improve sustainability. She is also a Trustee of Energise Otaki, a fanatical gardener and an enthusiastic grandmother.
JOCK PHILLIPS ONZM | PATRON
Jock Phillips is a New Zealand historian who is passionate about preserving and protecting knowledge of our past.
His professional career began teaching American History at Victoria University of Wellington. He then became the nation’s Chief Historian. At the same time he led the team developing the history exhibitions for Te Papa.
In 2002 he became the General Editor of Te Ara, the online Encyclopedia of New Zealand which was the most exciting project of his life and taught him a huge amount about all aspects of New Zealand ecology, society, culture and history.
Jock has published a dozen books on New Zealand history, of which the most recent is his memoir, Making History: a New Zealand Story.
Jock and his family have a bach in Ōtaki and he spends several days there every fortnight.
ANTHONY DREAVER | SECRETARY
Anthony grew up in Balclutha, South Otago. Before retirement, he was a teacher of history, geography and social studies. Living in Horowhenua, Wellington and Kapiti since 1973, Anthony Dreaver became fascinated by the region’s past and wanted to share its story.
He helped to set up Horowhenua Historical Society and wrote centennial histories of Horowhenua County (1985) and of Levin (2006). This interest led to a biography of Levin farmer and scientist Leslie Adkin (1997).
He edited Otaki Historical Society’s Historical Journal for many years and has been Chair of Paekakariki Station Museum Trust. Since 2009 he has been active in Kapiti US Marines Trust. He has frequently given talks or field trips about Kapiti’s history.
He has admired The Otaki Health Camp Rotunda for many years and is enthusiastic to see it restored and re-used.
KAREN TURNER | TREASURER
Karen Turner is the Trust's treasurer.
Karen was born in Lower Hutt and educated in the Hutt Valley. She is a descendant of Hape-ki-tua-rangi, Ngati Raukawa paramount chief, who married Te Akau Hape. Their daughter Pipi Wallace (born Te Kutia) married William Ellerslie Wallace and their son, James Howard Wallace, was Karen’s great grandfather.
She attended Hutt Valley Polytechnic where she studied Business Studies. Her career was primarily office management and latterly project finance and coordination.
On Karen’s retirement, she moved to Otaki Beach and followed her love of DIY by renovating her property. She is a keen sportsperson and is a member of Otaki Golf Club and Waikanae Pickleball.
Karen enjoys volunteering with Cobwebs Trust and is involved with the Cobblers Lunch and Energise Otaki curtains installation. She recently joined the Friends of the Ōtaki Rotunda Trust. She believes that the Rotunda is an important historical building and is happy to be part of getting it back to a useful state so that it and the whole Health Camp site can be once again, a community asset.
MARILYN STEVENS | TRUSTEE
Marilyn was born and bred the youngest of 4 in Lower Hutt. Her business life has mainly been in business management, she worked for several years in the management of early childhood education, then moved on to help her husband Wayne in their family business which was a construction and engineering equipment import/sales & service. They then moved into motel management. Her last job before retirement was Field Officer for the Cancer Society.
Marilyn joined Rotary in 1993 and has served on District Committees ever since. She has enjoyed hosting in excess of 30 international exchange students over time. She was the first woman in our district to lead a Group Study Exchange Team overseas and her experience took her to Sweden. She has also enjoyed being a part of Friendship Exchanges. She is now serving as District Governor for Rotary covering an area from Taranaki across to Dannevirke and down to Wellington.
In her local community she has served 3 trienniums on the Otaki Community Board, as Chair the Otaki Community Network Forum and as Deputy Chair of the Foodbank. She is also a committee member of the Otaki Health & Wellbeing Advisory Group.
She joined the Friends of the Ōtaki Rotunda Trust in 2021, replacing Warren Irving as the rotary representative on the Trust Board. Since the very early days of the Health Camp, Rotary has played a significant support role, helping to raise funds and also providing equipment and facilities including the Camp swimming pool.
CHRISTINE PAPPS | TRUSTEE
Christine Papps is the Chair of the Otaki Community Board. This is her second term as a member of the Board.
She has lived in Kapiti and the Otaki District for the past 30 years. She is involved with various Otaki community groups and is working on a variety of projects aimed at developing the resilience of Otaki as the expressways and other developments open opportunities for the district.
Christine sees the Children’s Health Camp and the rotunda as a significant element of the history of Otaki. Preservation and maintenance of that history is important to how we see ourselves, she says.
GRANT STEVENSON QSM | TRUSTEE
Grant Stevenson grew up in Karori in Wellington and qualified in Industrial Design.
His life took on a more creative direction as a woodturner when he built and opened a craft shop in Otaki (now the Riverstone Cafe building). He then spent 8 years as Levin's Community Affairs Officer.
In 1985 he presented a report to the town of Foxton which led to the building of the tram-station and the restoration of Main Street. That initiative also catalysed the Foxton Windmill development and subsequently, the Dutch Museum.
From the Horowhenua he moved to Parliament and spent 18 months in Ministers' offices before taking a role in a marketing company. In 1993 he started his own events and communications company and in 1996 assisted the New Zealand Flora Art groups deliver the highly successful World Floral Show. Specialising in major events, he went on to deliver the sponsorship and opening of the St James Theatre in 1998, the Opening of the new Wellington Airport terminal in 1999 followed by Pinot Noir 2001 and the on-shore events of the BT Global Challenge round the world yacht race. For the following two years, he was co-director of the first two red carpet premieres of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
In 2006 he designed, built and launched the New Zealand Jewellery Show which ran for six years. In 2015 he designed, fundraised and delivered 'Capital 150,' a celebration of Wellington's role as the capital city, opening 45 institutions to the public. This behind the scenes look attracted 80,000 visits over two days. His last major event in the city was to design, raise the funds for and deliver the 50th Commemoration of the Wahine Disaster in 2018.
In 2019, he effectively retired to his house in Otaki after working on the operational planning and opening of the Kapiti Performing Arts Centre. He was awarded the Queens Service Medal that year and now continues to assist community projects while he learns to paint in his own 'Seagrass Gallery,' his latest project at Otaki Beach.
JENNY GORDON | TRUSTEE
Jenny was born in Inglewood, Taranaki and has spent the last thirty plus years living on the Kapiti Coast in the Te Horo/Otaki areas, where she has been involved in the local community through work and volunteer organisations.
For several years she was on the committee for the Te Horo Hall and for eight years ran a successful Seasonal Surplus Stall at the monthly market held there, donating close to $3,000 to local charities from money raised.
In life she aims to have as small a footprint as possible, endeavouring to reduce, re-use or recycle whenever feasible. To this extent she sees saving and restoring the rotunda as imperative and envisages it becoming a vibrant and exciting venue for the community.
LYNNE CORKIN | TRUSTEE
Lynne was born and educated in Whangarei and has also lived in Australia and the United Kingdom before moving to the Kapiti Coast in 2006. She moved to Otaki in 2012.
Her business experience has been mainly in administration. During her working life she has owned and run two successful businesses.
Currently she holds three Treasurer positions for different organisations in Otaki as well as being on the organising committees for the annual Otaki Kite Festival and the Annual Festival of Pots and Garden Art.
She has always been interested in history and genealogy and strongly believes in what FOR is trying to achieve. She beleves that the Rotunda is an important historical building and is enjoying being part of getting it back to a useful state so that it and the whole Health Camp site can be once again, a community asset.