About the Trust
To conserve for posterity the Rotunda building, which was once part of the Ōtaki Children’s Health Camp, 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 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 Trust looks forward to close cooperation with Heritage NZ.
The Board of Trustees
DI BUCHAN | CHAIR
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 just a kilometer from her house. 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 the Otaki Museum, a fanatical gardener and an enthusiastic grandmother.
JOCK PHILLIPS | DEPUTY CHAIR
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 | TRUSTEE
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.
TREVOR HUNTER | TRUSTEE
Trevor has lived in Otaki for 25 years, after moving up from Ranfurly in Central Otago to take up a Paramedic position with St John. He has now been in Otaki for 25 years. He says it is a great place to live.
His wife, Janet is a Resource Teacher of Literacy covering the Primary Schools on the Kapiti Coast. He is now the Station Manager for St John Ambulance based in Otaki. Prior to this his background was in the building industry. They have a daughter who lives with her family in Palmerston North and a son and his partner who live in Wellington.
Trevor and Janet live next to the Health Camp and it has always played a big part in their community. His interests are family, travelling and fishing.
WARREN IRVING | TRUSTEE
Warren is a member of the Otaki Branch of Rotary and as such has been nominated to represent Rotary on the FOR Trust Board. Rotary has a long association with the Otaki Children's Health Camp; helping to raise funds and donations of various sorts and helping with working bees from the early days.
He is pleased to be able to represent the organisation for the important task of overseeing the future of this important building.
He has been a member of Rotary since 1981, serving on several committees around the country. He hopes to make a solid contribution to the work of FOR through practical experience of renovating and relocating several buildings over the years as part of his professional life.
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.