The Whakatane Lions Club’s Te Urewera
Education Centre, popularly known as the
“Lions Hut” was opened on 26
June 1966 and an incorporated society was formed in 1967.
The society is
in the hands of a general committee made up of 5 members of the Lions
Club of Whakatane and 5 members of the public with the President of the
Lions Club holding the casting vote.
purposes outlined in the constitution are;
a) To establish and maintain the Education Centre
building/or buildings in or near the bush of Te Urewera
b) Through the use of the Education Centre to
provide healthy recreation for those
who are interested and especially
for young people and to afford them the
opportunity to learn all aspects
of bush craft, map and compass readings,
safe use of firearms, natural
history, cultural appreciation
and environmental education.
c) To promote general public appreciation of the
Te Urewera National Park.
The Education Centre is sited on land inside the Te
Urewera National Park held
under occupation licence granted by The
Department of Conservation for 20 years.
The Lions Hut now, after recent extension, has a
total floor area of 3117 square feet and
can accommodate 40 people at
any one time. As well as groups from schools it is used
by other groups
such as NZ Mountain Safety, NZ Search and Rescue, Scouts, Church
and other youth clubs. It has an occupation rate of approximately 4000
nights which indicates its popularity. The Society is very aware of
costs to young
people and keeps the charges very affordable.
The large extension and upgrading of the facilities
was completed in 2002 included the addition of a class room and
teachers' room. The Lottery Grants Board gave a grant, with the balance
of funds being raised from the community and with most of the labour
input being voluntarily supplied by Whakatane Lions, other Lions of the
district and members of the community. Since then further up grading has
been completed with the installation of a solar power system giving
electric lighting to supplant the candles and lanterns which were a
serious fire safety hazard. Extensions of the water supply and
reticulation and improvements to the showers and toilets have been
completed this year.
The Lodge has received many favourable comments from
the public and occupants
as a very important contribution to the
district and is a quiet but active reminder to
every one of the ability
of our service club.