Fight continues to return Plunket buildings to community

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Local amenity . . . The Culverden Plunket rooms which the local Plunket group is fighting to ``future proof'' in local ownership. Photo: Supplied

By AMANDA BOWES

The fight is continuing to have the Waiau and Culverden Plunket buildings returned to their rightful owners.

A large crowd packed a meeting room at Amuri Area School last week as locals reaffirmed they wanted Plunket New Zealand to formally offer the Waikari, Culverden and Waiau buildings, plus the land, back to the community.

Plunket Change Lead, Martin Rodgers and Plunket chief executive officer Lois van Waardenberg travelled from Wellington to speak to concerned citizens but were not able to give any conclusive answers to the questions put to them.

In 2012, the land and buildings were transferred across to the Canterbury branch, then to the National body, but the titles were legally held by the Hurunui Branch of Plunket.

Hurunui District councillor, Dick Davison, said there was no doubt the properties – Waiau, Culverden plunket rooms – had been gifted and that “the transfer is illegal and sleight of hand. There has been a breach of trust”.

“We will get the properties back – it may be rocky, but we will get there.”

He also put forward the idea that the properties could be transferred to a charitable trust, similar to the one that operates the Waikari Health Centre.

Plunket has since responded, saying the request that the local Plunket properties in Waiau and Culverden be owned by a charitable trust is clear.

The main concern of the Waiau and Culverden Plunket supporters, is that the national body will either sell these assets or use the equity for other purposes.

Renee Dampier-Crossley from Waiau and others gave a history of the Hurunui branches of Plunket and the events that had led up to Tuesday’s meeting.

Martin Rodgers acknowledged that the Waiau and Culverden branches had had a bad experience with the way things were handled but assured them the land or buildings wouldn’t be sold.

This was met with some skepticism from those attending the meeting.

It was moved that Plunket New Zealand formally offer Waikari, Culverden and Waiau the land and buildings back to the community.

The meeting finished with no resolution achieved.

Renee Dampier-Crossley says they got nowhere.

“But we won’t back down.

“We will keep the pressure on until we have a resolution.”