THE future of the Lake Waikaremoana Motor Camp is up in the air, with no bookings beyond June 2013 being taken.
Management of the motor camp will change hands from July 1.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) say it is not yet clear who will take over the lease but it was “absolutely not closing”.
Tuhoe tribe spokesman Tamati Kruger said the iwi had registered its interest in taking over the lease some time ago but nothing formal had happened yet.
In September this year, a $170 million Treaty deal for the Tuhoe tribe saw the 212,672ha of Te Urewera National Park exit the national park network to create a new legal identity, which specified that neither the Crown nor Tuhoe owned the land.
Mr Kruger said the tribe was waiting for some explanation from DoC.
“What we understand is that the lease is up on the motor camp and what we think is happening is that the people who have that lease are not renewing it.”
Mr Kruger said they hoped to take over the lease and wanted to sit down with DoC to go over the lease arrangements and terms, and the profitability of it.
“We would see it as an investment,” he said.
DoC community relations programme manager for the Te Urewera Whirinaki area Mike Jones said the motor camp was “absolutely not” closing.
“The managers won’t be managing the camp from July 1 next year, so we have asked that they get callers to contact our visitor centre at Aniwaniwa and we will take their contact details.”
An online booking system was being set up and when that was up and running, people would then be contacted to formalise their bookings.
“That system would require payment for confirmation of those booking and in due course those monies would be handed over to the people who are in the position of managing the motor camp.”
But just who those people will be was “being worked on at the moment,” he said.
“All the opportunities and possibilities are being explored. I’m not party to the treaty negotiations.”
Ownership was the crucial issue that saw the 2010 deal with Tuhoe fall over when Prime Minister John Key took it off the table.
As the tribal negotiator, Mr Kruger said then that the tribe had to concede that ownership was not an issue.
The motor camp has been leased since 2004 by Gladys Adams, her late husband Colin and their son Jeff.
Jeff Adams said they had the opportunity to renew the lease but turned it down due to the financial situation.
“All the costs were going up but our income was not. It doesn’t have the turnover it did 10 years ago and a lot of that has to do with the high NZ dollar.
“It used to be 90 percent foreign tourists who came here and now that’s dropped to 5 percent.”
Mr Adams said it had been an amazing nine years.
“I certainly love the place and I’m going to miss it, that’s for sure. Both my kids were born here so it’s pretty close to the heart.
“They say you’re 90 percent water so I guess I’m 90 percent Waikaremoana — I only drink the water from here.”
The family are hoping to have a get together in June just before the end of their contract and invite all the regulars up there to stay for free.